PARIS — Offsetting tough trading conditions in southern Europe, emerging markets continue to be the growth engine for Carrefour SA, which reported a 1.5 percent rise in sales in the first quarter. On a constant currency basis and excluding petrol, revenues rose 0.9 percent.

Carrefour, the world’s second largest retailer behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc., posted sales of 22.49 billion euros, or $29.45 billion, in the three months ended March 31.

Dollar figures have been converted at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.

In a conference call with analysts on Thursday, Carrefour’s chief financial officer, Pierre-Jean Sivignon, cited a contrast in performance between mature and emerging markets, with the latter enjoying a “strong trading environment.”

Revenues in Latin America rose 8.1 percent to 4.4 billion euros, or $5.78 billion, driven by continuing progress in hypermarkets in Brazil, the retailer’s second biggest market, and outperformance of the group’s Atacadao format there.  

Carrefour’s revenue in France, which accounts for 40 percent of sales, inched up 0.8 percent.

“The trends we observed this quarter and the persistently difficult trading environment confirm our determination to pursue the execution of our Reset plan in France, focus on cash and cost efficiency, further extend our Carrefour-branded product offer and continue expanding in emerging markets,” stated Carrefour’s chief executive officer Lars Olofsson.

Georges Plassat, who this month was appointed the retailer’s chief operating officer, will succeed Olofsson at the management helm at Carrefour following its annual shareholders’ meeting on June 18.

During Olofsson’s three-year tenure, the company has weathered weak results and a string of profit warnings as it tried to turn around its ailing hypermarket business.

 

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