By  on September 1, 2010

PARIS — Carrefour SA, the world’s second-largest retailer behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc., reported first-half net profits of 82 million euros, or $109.1 million, versus a loss of 58 million euros, or $77.2 million, in the year-ago period.

The company cited “significant” market share gains in France, with a stabilization of the firm’s hypermarket business, and said it was confident of meeting its 2010 objectives.

During the first half, sales were up 5.9 percent to 48.88 billion euros, or $65 billion, as reported. Dollar figures are converted from euros at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.

“Even if the environment in which we operate remains challenging, our strong first-half results put us perfectly on track to achieve our 2010 objectives,” chief executive officer Lars Olofsson said during the presentation of the results on Tuesday at the firm’s headquarters here. “Carrefour’s renewal is under way.”

Sales trends for July in France were “satisfactory” but “a little bit weaker” in August, according to Olofsson. Investments in priority growth markets will accelerate in the second half, he said, as the group prepares for the rollout next year of its Carrefour “planet” concept across G5 countries, which aims to reinvent the hypermarket format.

Sales growth in France and Asia offset continued weakness in the rest of Europe. Business in Latin America was impacted by weak performance in hypermarkets, notably in Brazil.

Carrefour reiterated it should reach its target operating profit of around 3.1 billion euros, or about $3.9 billion at current exchange rates.

Store openings for 2010 are expected to total 1,250 by yearend. The firm plans to pool purchases in nonfood sectors, including apparel.

Olofsson declined to comment on speculation the group is seeking offers for its units in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Carrefour reported a rebound in activity contribution in the latter country.

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