By  on July 11, 2007

PARIS — Carrefour, the world's second-largest retailer after Wal-Mart, on Tuesday reported weaker-than-expected second-quarter sales, hamstrung by lackluster growth in its home market of France.

The hypermarket operator said sales in the three months ended June 30 improved 5.9 percent to 22.64 billion euros, or $31.04 billion at current exchange, missing analysts' consensus expectations.

On a like-for-like basis, overall sales edged ahead 1.1 percent.

Carrefour said it continued to struggle in France due to tepid consumer spending and cost-cutting, which has marred Carrefour's performance in recent quarters.

Sales in France inched forward 0.3 percent to 10.4 billion euros, or $13.76 billion, Carrefour said. But on a like-for-like basis, sales in the quarter were flat.

Elsewhere business was more robust. In the rest of Europe, sales improved 5.8 percent to 8.54 billion euros, or $11.71 billion, thanks to high-growth countries such as Poland and Romania, where sales grew 23.7 percent and 27 percent, respectively.

Sales in Latin America gained 34.9 percent to 2.32 billion euros, or $3.18 billion, led by new stores in Brazil and Colombia, as well as a 26 percent like-for-like sales improvement in Argentina.

In Asia, sales jumped 13.6 percent to 1.38 billion euros, or $1.89 billion, with high double-digit growth produced in both China and Indonesia, Carrefour said.

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