French retail group Casino performed better than expected last year: thanks to the corona crisis, sales at convenience stores and e-commerce rose sharply. But trading profit is also on the rise, and debts are being reduced further.
The Casino group has realised a turnover of 31.9 billion euros in 2020, a growth of 8% on a comparable basis. This increase in turnover is logical: almost all food retailers were able to benefit from the change in demand due to the closure of the catering sector in most European countries. On the French home market, comparable sales were 3% higher, e-commerce (Cdiscount) grew 8.6%. The fact that the group is strong in the convenience store segment is an asset.
More important is the fact that trading profit also increased by 8%. The group has been burdened with heavy debts for some time, but last year deb fell by 1.3 billion euros to 4.8 billion, which is better than the 5 billion that the group had forecast. The group has already sold non-strategic activities for a total of 2.8 billion. This included the sale of the stores of discount chain Leader Price to Aldi France.
Casino is working hard to increase profitability: the retailer is improving its purchasing conditions, hopes to capitalise on more customer data, and is focusing more on organic food, convenience stores and energy. For e-commerce, Casino is working with Ocado as a technology partner. Monoprix is a partner of Amazon in France for online groceries.