French supermarket group Casino published a favourable quarterly report, with an increase in turnover that it largely owes to the lockdown in France. Both online activities and convenience stores reported exceptional results.
Explosion in online shopping
Despite virtually stable sales of 8.3 billion euros in the first quarter, the group recorded organic growth of 7.9 % and comparable sales growth of 6.4 %. This growth was driven by a good performance in Latin America (+ 14 %) and the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the French domestic market. Consumers significantly increased their purchases of staple food products to build up reserves, while online shopping exploded - an area in which the French group is very successful.
The last four weeks of the quarter were particularly exceptional, with 24 % growth for its Franprix convenience stores and Casino supermarkets, as people consume more at home and shop in their neighbourhoods. Online purchases have more than doubled, mainly thanks to the quick delivery service provided by Monoprix, the urban chain of stores that also works with Amazon Prime Now. The service now processes 20,000 orders per day, up from just 6,500 at the beginning of the year.
Hypermarkets are benefiting much less from these trends: the international non-food web platform Cdiscount had a difficult start to the year, partly due to the strict precautions taken in China. However, the platform has recently seen a sharp rebound in its business, with a 40 % growth since the beginning of April.
Casino is in the midst of a strategic repositioning: the group is being forced to sell non-core businesses in order to reduce its historically heavy debt. In this context, these results are encouraging.