NATIONAL supermarket chain Eroski has sold 36 of its stores, 22 petrol stations and eight shopping centres to French hypermarket firm Carrefour for the sum of €205 million.
Carrefour plans to use these premises to expand its presence in Spain.
They include all Eroski supermarkets in the region of Catalunya, since the Basque store network wants to concentrate on franchises and on city-centre outlets.
It has calculated that Eroski stores based in major urban hubs are more profitable.
Eroski says its decision to sell off all stores in Catalunya is due to plans to concentrate on developing its network of Caprabo supermarkets in the region, another brand which comes under the Eroski umbrella.
With the petrol stations included, the sale represents the source of 10.9% of the chain's income.
Carrefour has pledged to keep on all staff employed by the branches it has bought, and will ensure their working conditions remain the same.
The French chain currently has 173 hypermarkets, 162 Carrefour Express supermarkets, and 114 Carrefour Market stores – and with the purchase of Eroski premises, it will now be able to break into the markets in 27 Spanish towns and cities.
As for Eroski, its network is now reduced to 53 hypermarkets, 1,288 supermarkets – of which 467 are franchises – and 19 cash-and-carry stores.
The sale, partly aimed at restructuring the Basque firm's debt – which sat at €2.5 billion last year – will affect stores in Algeciras (Cádiz province), Antequera, Fuengirola, Vélez-Málaga (Málaga province), Roquetas de Mar (Almería province), Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Logroño (La Rioja), Valladolid, Segovia, Zamora, Manzanares, the Cantabria towns of Lalín, Lugones, Mieres and Santander, Jaca (Huesca province) and Huesca city, and a long stretch of stores along the Mediterranean.
The latter includes Cullera (Valencia), Ondara, Dénia, Santa Pola and Orihuela (Alicante), Lorca, Águilas and San Javier (Murcia) and Murcia city, plus others in Castellón, Catalunya and the Balearic Islands including Amposta, Cornellá, Sant Cugat, Sa Coma, Son Cotoner and Terrasa.