Carrefour wants to focus on cementing its leadership of Portugal’s discount retail segment after selling its hypermarket business in the country.

The French retail giant said today (27 July) that it would look to build on sales from its Minipreço discount stores in Portugal.

Carrefour’s switch in focus comes after the sale of its hypermarket business in the country. Carrefour has sold 12 hypermarkets and eight gas stations to local retail group Sonae for EUR662m (US$904m).

A spokesperson for Carrefour in Paris told just-food that, although its Portuguese hypermarkets were making money, the business was “not profitable enough”. The stores generated sales of some EUR530m in 2006.

The spokesperson added: “We were not big enough; the hypermarkets only had five share points. Minipreço is first in the hard discount market.”

Carrefour operates some 447 Minipreço stores in Portugal, a business that recorded sales of some EUR665m in 2006.

Sonae said the acquisition is part of its “growth strategy” and added store openings are in the pipeline.