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Lotte China moving to sell hypermarket chain

Lotte China plans to wrap up the sales of its hypermarket chain in China within the next three months.

Potential buyers have started to inspect the South Korean retail giant’s stores. While many have reviewed documents, Chinese retailer Liqun Group was the first to carry out on-site inspections of Lotte Mart’s Chinese stores, reports Yonhap news agency.

However, a Lotte Mart official says three or four other companies also also planning on-site inspections.

He says Lotte’s aim is to complete the sales process by June, when about KW700 billion (US$653 million) of emergency funds it has injected into its Chinese retail business is expected to be run out.

Lotte announced its decision to sell its Chinese stores in September after being hit by major losses in the wake of a diplomatic row between Seoul and Beijing over a US anti-missile system. The retailer bore the brunt of Beijing’s retaliation after signing a land-swap deal with the South Korean government to provide a golf course to host the missile shield system.

Eighty-seven of its 99 Lotte Mart discount stores in China suspended trading, while sales at the few stores that managed to stay open tumbled more than 80 per cent. The group lost about KW1.2 trillion in lost sales in the process, reports Yonhap.

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