[THE INVESTOR] Lotte Group has begun work to sell its discount store chain in China, company officials and an industry source said Thursday, as China steps up its retaliation against the South Korean retail giant due to its support for an advanced US missile defense system.
According to the sources, Lotte has named Goldman Sachs as the lead manager to sell its Lotte Mart stores in China.
Depending on the results of negotiations with a potential buyer, Lotte could sell all of its discount stores in China, the sources said.
An official at Lotte Group confirmed that it has been in talks with the lead manager to sell all of its discount stores in China.
About 80 percent of the 112 Lotte Mart stores in China have been closed for more than six months since Chinese authorities tightened safety and sanitary inspections. These more rigorous inspections were in response to Lotte's agreement with the South Korean government in March to a land-swap deal to host the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in South Korea.
By Song Seung-hyun and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)