Casino happy with "biggest growth in five years"

In France, supermarket group Casino has posted surprisingly good results. The chain itself spoke of the best year of the past five, despite problems with the yellow vest movement.

 

Growth in domestic market

Groupe Casino's total turnover for 2018 was 36.6 billion euros, an organic turnover growth of 4.7 %. Stores that had been open for more than a year grew by 3 %. In its domestic market France, Casino managed to achieve a 19-billion euro turnover, which comes down to a growth of 1.4%.

 

While growth slowed down in the fourth quarter, it was still better than analysts' expectations. On a comparable basis, turnover rose by 3.6 %. Financial damage caused by the protests of the 'gilets jaunes' was limited: the estimated turnover loss was just 50 million euros, a mere 1 % of the total quarterly turnover for France. In France, this was the best year in five years' time, CFO David Lubek said to LSA. In French stores that had been open for more than a year, turnover increased by 1.3 %: this is partly due to the repositioning of all group brands, he continues. Lubek believes that Casino's goals have been reached: losing a billion euros of debt and boosting operational profits by 10 %.

 

Turnover affected by currency effects

All of the supermarket group's chains in France grew, except for Leader Price (which is in the process of closing stores). With the inclusion of Cdiscount, the company's total volume grew by 2.8 % in the past year. The best performing brand was Monoprix (+ 3.5 %), while the hypermarkets saw their turnover increase by 2.4 %. At Géant, food sales (+ 2.9 %) compensated for a drop in non-food (- 6 %). Nevertheless, the fourth quarter was more difficult for Franprix and Monoprix, since those chains were affected by the decrease in tourism in Paris.

 

In Latin America, where Casino also owns Brasilian Grupo Pão de Açúcar, currency effects negatively affected the group. Turnover rose autonomously by 8.5 % (and on a comparable basis by 4.5 %), but still, total turnover ended 7.2 % lower. The stock market responded well to the group's annual results, even after the startup of an extensive debt reduction plan and severe blows to the stock in 2018.