PARIS — Carrefour SA, the world’s second-largest retailer behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said sales swung back to growth mode during the fourth quarter, despite what it called a “persistently challenging” environment.
The better-than-expected quarterly performance helped the company post a full-year operating profit of 2.77 billion euros, or $3.87 billion, exceeding its most recent guidance for a figure at the lower end of its target range of 2.7 billion euros, or $3.76 billion, to 2.8 billion euros, or $3.9 billion. Carrefour, which will disclose its full 2009 results on Feb. 19, did not provide a net profit figure.
In the three months to Dec. 31, sales rose 1 percent to 26 billion euros, or $38.25 billion, after dipping 2.9 percent to 24 billion euros, or $34.32 billion, in the third quarter. Full-year 2009 sales were down 1.4 percent to 96 billion euros, or $134.12 billion, the group said. Dollar figures have been converted at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.
Carrefour chief executive officer Lars Olofsson, who since his arrival one year ago has unveiled measures to cut costs and improve the retailer’s price image, has appointed James McCann as executive director for France within a newly created executive board of the group, succeeding Gilles Petit. McCann was formerly general manager of business units for U.K. supermarket giant Tesco in various countries in Asia and Europe.
McCann will be in charge of implementing an ambitious drive to revamp Carrefour’s hypermarkets in France, a market which accounts for more than 40 percent of the group’s total sales. The larger stores have been hit by a drop in consumer spending on nonfood items as a result of the global economic downturn.
Carrefour will start to test new concepts for hypermarkets in select locations in the next few weeks, but will not make an official announcement on its strategy until later this year, chief financial officer Pierre Bouchut told analysts in a conference call. He did not provide any additional details on the locations of the tests, or which nonfood categories would be concerned.
Sales in France, Spain and Portugal — Carrefour’s main markets — were affected in 2009 by deflation in food prices, Bouchut said. “Our global trading environment remains challenging, and consumption remains under pressure from rising unemployment and decreasing purchasing power,” he noted.
Bouchut said there were “encouraging signs,” however, in growth markets including China, Poland and Indonesia. “None of these point yet to a recovery, but they may signal we have hit the bottom,” he said.
Operating profit came in some 60 million euros, or $83.7 million, higher than expected thanks to an additional 30 million euros, or $41.8 million, in cost reductions, the closure of Carrefour’s outlets in Russia, the better-than-expected sales performance in the fourth quarter and a slightly positive foreign exchange impact during the same period, Bouchut said.
Carrefour shares closed down 0.8 percent at 34.56 euros, or $50.12, Thursday, before the release of the fourth-quarter and full-year sales update.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion