The South Korean unit of the world's second biggest retailer has been fined KRW1.39 billion (US$1.5 million) by the Korean Fair Trade Commission for unfair business practices.

South Korea’s antitrust regulator said the retailer had forced suppliers to agree to contracts that gave Carrefour Korea heavily discounted prices for extended periods, saving the group KRW1.74 billion on supply orders for 2005.

Carrefour Korea, Korea’s fourth largest discount chain, was also ordered to address other offenses which included making unfair refund demands and delays in signing supplier contracts despite receiving shipments.

The fine follows the French retailer’s announcement in April that it plans to exit the South Korean market, selling its 32 outlets to a local clothing-maker and distribution group Eland, after an uninspiring performance since entering the market in 1996.