China’s debt-strapped Wanda sells department stores to Suning

SHANGHAI (AFP) – Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group has sold its department store chain to leading retailer, in its latest move to downsize its wide-ranging operations after rapid diversification put it into financial trouble.

Suning, an appliance retailer and e-commerce platform, said in a statement issued yesterday that it purchased 37 Wanda department stores for an undisclosed amount.

The department stores are mostly located in central areas of major cities in China, Suning said.

Wanda had diversified rapidly in recent years from commercial property into entertainment, theme parks, sports and other sectors, but has been squeezed by debts run up through a series of massive, high-profile foreign acquisitions.

Since 2017 it has sold off billions of dollars’ worth of hotels, theme parks and other projects after China’s government got spooked over capital outflows and rising corporate debts.