Sales excluding VAT were up by 1.4% to €36.5bn and margins improved through a recurrent operating income, with earnings before interest and tax (EBITA) rising by 7.7%.
However, company sales across the board were not positive and net sales in France dropped by 0.3% on last year, while sales in other parts of Europe slumped by 4.5%.
Carrefour’s sales strength has come from the Latin American market, which grew 13.3% on last year and the Asian market, which grew by 2.7% on the previous year.
Looking forward, Carrefour has said it will be focusing business plans around the “toughening consumption trends worldwide and exchange rate volatility”.
The company also said priorities were a reiteration of those disclosed in March and it will therefore continue to develop its multi-local multi-format model. It said power will be “decentralised”, as decision processes are simplified and restructured. Clients will be “placed at the core of the business” and stores will be “re-empowered”, it said.
Finally, Carrefour will continue to be strict in its financial practices as it pushes out a “stable dividend payout policy” and controls the increase of capital expenditure, which is expected to be between €2.2bn and €2.3bn this year.
Meanwhile, Shore Capital city analysts Darren Shirley and Clive Black said they could see the company becoming a “more focused and disciplined business”, but added there was much work to do in order to keep the company profitable.
They said: “We sense, though, that steady progress, after a period of turmoil, is what the market is looking for from the company and that is what it is getting; so we would be reasonably warm to this update.”
The best bits
Company highlights from 2013 so far have seen several improvements in the group’s liquidity position, including:
- A new bond issue of €1bn in May (1.75% coupon, maturity 2019).
- Bond buybacks for €1.3bn in June on 2014, 2015 and 2016 maturities.
- Renewal of syndicated loans amounting to €4.15bn.