Carrefour's Stand at Vivatech

PARIS — Carrefour posted a 6.3 percent rise in second-quarter sales on a like-for-like basis, spurred by growth in Latin America.

“The crisis confirms the relevance of our multiformat and omnichannel strategy, as well as the strength of our commercial assets, resulting from three years of a demanding and rapid transformation,” said Carrefour chairman and chief executive officer Alexandre Bompard. 

The executive has steered a broad overhaul of the company over the past two and a half years, increasing organic food offers, and bolstering e-commerce, through partnerships with technology companies, including reinforcing a deal with Uber Eats in France with plans to launch the service in Belgium.

Fast like-for-like growth in Brazil and Argentina, where lockdowns continue, helped offset a more subdued performance in Europe, where Spain and Belgium led growth. The retail giant’s performance in France was dragged down by a weaker performance from its sprawling hypermarkets, which are slowly recovering activity following the lockdown period. Sales in Italy, Poland and Romania declined, on a like-for-like basis.

Sales for the second quarter reached 18.64 billion euros, weighed down heavily by foreign exchange rates, notably the depreciation of the Brazilian real and Argentinian peso.

Breaking down its performance by month, the retailers said that during the lockdown periods, consumers favored convenience and supermarket stores, activity declined in hypermarkets. Consumers made fewer store visits but the average basket increased, while online orders for food remained strong, the retailer said. Carrefour’s non-food business, especially apparel, suffered during lockdowns, with Italy and Spain ordering the closure of non-food activities. 

Reopenings in Europe in May and June led to buoyant food business, the retailer said, flagging pent-up demand. 

The company confirmed its financial targets, noting recurring operating profit rose 29 percent over the first half to 624 million euros, growth driven by Europe outside of France and Latin America, with improvement in its performance in Taiwan.

Bompard, who recently reshuffled top management in a number of European markets, moving Christophe Rabatel from Poland to Italy, for example, noted that the reason behind the recent changes was to rally efforts around “operational excellence to better serve customers.”