An explosion ripped through the parking lot of a Carrefour retail outlet in China's eastern city of Qingdao, Sunday evening, but no injuries or fatalities were reported, store officials said.
The blast occurred at about 6:30 pm, sending some 1,000 shoppers scurrying for the exits, a store manager named Liu told reporters by telephone on Monday.
"We are not sure what kind of explosion it was, but police are investigating the possibility that there was a man-made bomb," Liu said.
The store opened as usual on Monday, he said.
Three fire trucks were sent to the store after the blast. It took 30 minutes for shoppers to calm down and for order to be restored, Liu said.
The French retailing giant Carrefour has expanded rapidly in China since 1995 and has 27 stores nationwide.
Large retail chain--Carrefoure in Qingdao Market
Carrefour - the world's second-largest retail chain - opened its Mingda Store in Qingdao in December, 1999.
On its opening day, Mingda attracted about 80,000 customers. In the following weeks, the store drew nearly 50,000 daily on weekdays and as many as 100,000 on weekends.
Mingda Store was Carrefour's first phase of development in Qingdao. The second phase was completed in 2001.
(People's Daily December 24, 2001)