International retail giant Carrefour has reported "solid" group sales growth of 6.7 per cent for the second quarter of 2008, hitting €23.7bn, despite "worsening" market conditions. For the first half of the year, sales grew 8.6 per cent to €47bn.
The improvement in results has been attributed to the strong performance of smaller formats in France, sustained growth in Spain (up 3.4 per cent) and the increased contribution of growth markets, which contributed 28 per cent of sales compared to 25 per cent in 2007.
Latin American stores enjoyed overall sales growth of 29 per cent for the second-quarter period, Asian operations saw an increase of 12.3 per cent, and other European sales (including Poland, Turkey, Romania and Greece) rose 19.9 per cent.
"In a difficult trading environment, the group posted a solid overall performance in the first half of 2008," said group CEO José Luis Duràn. "I have decided to reinforce the commercial dynamic of our French hypermarkets to regain market share over the second half, and simultaneously to accelerate our operational action plans to allow us to achieve our 2008 objectives."
As part of an overall plan to accelerate sales growth while cutting costs, Carrefour also revealed that it is set to free up €200m by freezing some store enlargements in mature European markets, reallocating these funds to store openings in growth markets such as Brazil, where 12 Atacado outlets will be opened in the second half of the year.