Carrefour CEO steps up digital push, inks deal in China

PARIS, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Carrefour’s new chief executive on Tuesday pledged to slash costs, step up investment in e-commerce in the face of competition from Amazon and to open up the capital of Carrefour China to local investors, as part of a plan to boost growth at the world’s second-largest retailer.

Alexandre Bompard, at the helm since July, faces the challenge of improving business in Carrefour’s core French market, where it has been losing market share to unlisted rival Leclerc.

He is also aiming to boost profitability and cash flow, and speeding up the company’s expansion into e-commerce, where Carrefour was late to invest..

Carrefour, Europe’s largest retailer and the second-biggest in the world behind Wal-Mart, will invest 2.8 billion euros ($3.43 billion) by 2022 to accelerate its online offer, while also cutting costs by 2 billion euros on a full year basis by 2020.

Carrefour, the largest private sector employer in France, said a voluntary redundancy plan would be offered to 2,400 employees at its head office in France.

Bompard unveiled the plan after Carrefour said last week that its 2017 operating profit could fall by 15 percent amid weak sales. This marked its second profit warning in six months.

$1 = 0.8165 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta