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Carrefour Q1 sales accelerate

2014-04-11 14:17 Global Times Web Editor: qindexing

Carrefour, Europe's biggest retailer, said underlying sales growth accelerated in the first quarter, driven by Brazil, the group's second-largest market after France, while sales in austerity-hit Spain rose for the second consecutive quarter.

Sales at closely watched French hypermarkets slowed amid a price war, however, while China, another key emerging market Carrefour has earmarked for expansion, also stayed weak.

Sales at Chinese stores open over a year fell 3.1 percent in the first quarter, the company said.

Chief Financial Officer Pierre-Jean Sivignon said on Thursday that Carrefour saw the market's consensus for core operating profit of around 2.38 billion euros ($3.3 billion) this year as "reasonable at this stage."

Carrefour is battling to reverse years of under-performance in Europe, where it earns 73 percent of its sales. Its problems are partly due to a reliance on the hypermarket format it once pioneered now that customers' habits have changed to favor more local and online shopping.

The world's largest retailer after Wal-Mart said first-quarter sales were 19.79 billion euros, close to the analyst consensus of 19.83 billion euros.

First-quarter sales were also dented by a later Easter holiday, which is in April this year, and lower petrol prices.

Excluding these factors, like-for-like sales growth was 3.7 percent in the quarter, compared to 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013.

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