Carrefour's sales growth slowed in the fourth quarter, as the Paris attacks in November and mild winter weather weighed on its core business. Hayley Platt reports.
Its recovery had been going well. But sales at Carrefour in the fourth quarter lost steam, just meeting expectations with 22 billion euros. The world's second largest retailer put it down to the Paris attacks in November and the mild winter weather, affecting sales in its core region. China added to its problems, sales there down almost 16 percent on weaker consumption. Brazil, the group's second-largest market after France, remained resilient despite the downturn in its economy. London Capital Group's Brenda Kelly. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LONDON CAPITAL GROUP, HEAD ANALYST, BRENDA KELLY, SAYING: "I think it's going to get even more difficult for European retailers. Certainly if you look at Carrefour's share price and it's highs back in April of last year it has fallen some 30 odd percent so even though we saw sales actually inline with expectations it is the likes of Brazil and China, basically emerging markets that are creating a problem." Overall Carrefour achieved its fourth straight year of rising sales. A sign the group's turn-around-plan is working. But the outlook looks less promising. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LONDON CAPITAL GROUP, HEAD ANALYST, BRENDA KELLY, SAYING: "The fact that we saw sales in France total 6.7 billion euros has kept the market that bit more sanguine today but I think overall the picture is some what bleak and with the stronger euro looking rather likely this will likely affect Carrefour's competitiveness globally." Carrefour makes 73 percent of its sales in Europe. But it's suffered from a reliance on the hypermarket format it pioneered as customers shop locally or online. It says it will open more smaller convenience stores, revamp its hypermarkets and develop its online business. All that as well as cuttings costs and prices. And expanding further into Brazil and China.