SAO PAULO, Aug 20 — A man died at a Carrefour Brasil store in Brazil's northeastern state of Recife, but his body was left on the shop floor covered with umbrellas and surrounded by cardboard boxes while the store remained open for business, causing outrage as images went viral on social media.

The incident occurred on August 14 but only came to light this week, amid a deluge of criticism on social media that the body was not removed and that the store did not close.

Carrefour Brasil apologised yesterday, telling Reuters in a statement that its handling of the incident was inappropriate.

“The company erred in not closing the store immediately after what happened to await the funeral service, as well as in not finding the correct way to look after the body,” it said.

According to Carrefour, the man was a sales manager who fell ill inside the store. First aid was given and an ambulance was called. After the man died, Carrefour said it “followed guidelines to not remove the body from its place.”

The local subsidiary of France's Carrefour SA, one of the largest retail chains in Brazil, said it has now changed its guidelines to include the mandatory closure of the store in future.

“We apologise to the family and stand ready to support them in whatever way necessary,” Carrefour said in its statement.

This is not the first controversy surrounding the way Carrefour handles incidents in its stores in Brazil. In 2018, a security guard at a store in the state of Sao Paulo killed a street dog after striking it with a metal bar, a case that caused revulsion on social media and with animal welfare groups. — Reuters