Lotte Shopping has agreed to acquire Chinese hypermarket operator Times.

A Lotte Group spokesman said: “We have in effect acquired Times, although some processes [to complete the deal] remain.”

Lotte Shopping will purchase a 72.3% stake in the company from chairman Kenneth Fang. The South Korean retailer is believed to have outbid rival Wu-Mart, which held “preliminary discussions” with Times last month.

Times operates around 52 hypermarkets and 14 supermarkets in Eastern China with annual sales of around $1bn (£609.6m).