Carrefour sign

Europe’s leading retailer, Carrefour, has announced that it is confident of achieving an underlying operating profit totaling €3.1bn for 2010, after new acquisitions and a cost-cutting programme helped boost its half-year profits by 7.6 per cent.

The France-based company recorded underlying profits for the six month period of €1.096bn, which were boosted by a strong performance in Asia and Latin America as well as the cost efficiency initiative in Europe.

In a presentation to investors, the company said that its sales had risen by 1.8 per cent during the half-year compared with the same period of 2009, which it said were being driven by growth markets and resilience in France.

Carrefour said it was now focusing on transformation and expansion in growth markets, notably China and Brazil. Unlike Europe, where sales dropped by 3.1 per cent, the company’s sales in Latin America increased by 16.2 per cent and in Asia by 8.9 per cent during the period.

In a statement, Carrefour chief executive Lars Olofsson said the retailer’s performance in western Europe was being addressed through its three-year ‘en avant!’ transformation plan, which it is hoped will achieve €4.5bn of savings.

He said: “Significant market share gains in France attest to the enhanced attractiveness of the Carrefour brand, our improved price image and the success of our banner convergence and new formats.

“Carrefour has also consolidated its positions in its priority markets through acquisitions and partnerships and taken radical operating decisions to restore profitability in underperforming markets.”