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Tesco still confident despite downturn

By Li Qiaoyi (Global Times)

13:40, September 12, 2012

UK-based Tesco PLC, the world's third largest retailer, remains confident about the prospects of the Chinese market despite economic headwinds dragging the retail sector down, a company executive said Tuesday during the ongoing Summer Davos in Tianjin.

China's retail sector will undergo a long period of competition and restructuring, but "we have never thought of leaving China," Lu Haiqing, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs at Tesco China, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview.

China's retailing industry is at a nascent stage compared with developed markets such as the US, Europe and Japan, Lu said, pointing to the tremendous growth potential of the market.

Even if the nation is hit by a downturn in the economy, it remains on a much higher growth trajectory than most of the economies globally, he said.

Lu's remarks came amid lingering rumors that big foreign retailers including Tesco and France-based Carrefour are considering selling off their China businesses, under pressure from growing competition and rising operation costs in the country.

The recent closing down of several Tesco outlets in China is not a reflection of the retailer's loss of confidence in the market, but more of a normal adjustment from a profitability point of view, said Lu.

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