PARIS — Carrefour SA, the world’s second-largest retailer behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc., reported a 1.2 percent decline in second-quarter sales Thursday.
For the three months ended June 30, sales declined to 23.44 billion euros, or $31.87 billion at constant exchange rates for the period. Sales from established stores dropped 2.2 percent in the quarter.
Carrefour said it saw some encouraging results during the second quarter, including market share gains in France; the testing of new store concepts such as discount brand Dia and convenience supermarket Carrefour City; the turnaround of its troubled operations in Belgium and Italy, and faster growth in Brazil and China.
“The strategic initiatives that we are implementing should show positive results in the second half,” said chief executive officer Lars Olofsson.
The extent of Carrefour’s second-quarter performance was already known, as the company disclosed first-half sales and earnings figures at a meeting with analysts at the end of June.
At the same meeting, Olofsson announced plans to revive Carrefour’s performance, save 4.5 billion euros, or $6.32 billion, by 2012 and introduce a fresh price-cuts strategy to improve its competitiveness.
Carrefour’s French hypermarket business, which has been hurt by the economic downturn, accounts for 23 percent of group sales, while the company is exposed to mature markets in Europe such as Spain, Italy and Belgium, which together with France account for 70 percent of group sales.
Swedish-born Olofsson joined the company Jan. 1, replacing José Luis Duran, who had been under pressure to improve the company’s financial performance and limping stock price from its largest shareholder, Blue Capital Group, the investment consortium of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chief Bernard Arnault and investment firm Colony Capital.
Carrefour is scheduled to report second-quarter earnings Aug. 28.
Shares in the company closed at 32.62 euros, or $45.81, before the release of second-quarter sales.
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