By  on July 13, 2006

PARIS — Carrefour, the world's second-largest retailer after Wal-Mart, on Wednesday reported a 9.1 percent increase in second-quarter sales that were driven by strong performance in its home market of France as well as in Asia and Latin America, offsetting weak consumer spending and tough competition in the rest of Europe.

Carrefour said sales in the three months ended June 30 rose to 21.38 billion euros, or $26.9 billion. For the first half, Carrefour reported sales growth of 8.7 percent to 41.8 billion euros, or $52.2 billion. Dollar figures are at the average exchange rate.

The firm confirmed its objective of faster sales growth in 2006 than in 2005, at constant exchange.

Carrefour said second-quarter sales in France, which count for roughly half the group's overall sales, increased 7.2 percent to 10.37 billion euros, or $13 billion. Overall sales in Europe grew 8.4 percent at constant exchange.

Sales in Latin America rose 23.5 percent to 1.72 billion euros, or $2.2 billion, while sales in Asia gained 16.4 percent to 1.22 billion euros, or $1.5 billion.

Carrefour opened 232 new stores in the second quarter, representing 314,000 square meters of new space, and said it was on track with its announced target of 1.5 million square meters of new space this year.

Shares inched up 0.2 percent Wednesday to close at 46.75 euros, or $59.35 at current exchange, on the Paris Bourse.

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