Growing Carrefour loses France to E.Leclerc

Growing Carrefour loses France to E.Leclerc

French distributor Carrefour finished 2012 with a turnover of 86.6 billion euro. The world's second largest distributor had good results in Asia and Latin-America, but in Europe the numbers are going downhill. On its home market France sales have stabilised (+0,1%) following a recent decline, but that achievement is eclipsed by E.Leclerc's 7% growth.

Taking hits in South of Europe

With a turnover of 86.6 billion dollar Carrefour performs better than predicted by financial analysts, who predicted a number closer to 79 billion. In France, still responsible for the biggest part of the company’s sales, Carrefour saw a small rise by 0.1% to 39.53 billion euro. This was possible because of the sales in gas stations and a slight improvement of sales in the hyper markets.

 

In the rest of Europe Carrefour took a hit in sales of 2.5% to 23.67 billion euro, mainly because of the poor results in Spain (-6.8%) and Italy (-6.5%). Without strong performances in Belgium (+3.8% all-in and a total revenue of 1.19 billion euro) and Poland-Turkey-Romania (+3.8% and a total revenue of 1.26 billion euro), the drop in sales would have been even bigger.

 

Stable China, booming Brazil

Carrefour performs best in Latin-America (+4.8%) and Asia (+10%), reaching total sales volumes of 16.14 billion euro and 7.22 billion euro respectively. Brazil earned a turnover growth of over 10%, making it Carrefour's biggest market after France.

 

China saw Carrefour's drop stabilised: after a drop of 6.1% in the third quarter, sales there fell by only 3.1% in the fourth. In the meantime new Carrefour stores are popping up like mushrooms in China, with seven new stores that opened up in the last few weeks.

 

Slower hypermarket decline saves French results

In France the performances of the hypermarkets are crucial for Carrefour, as they are responsible for almost a quarter of their total sales. Although they are still dropping in sales, the previous rapid decline seems to have been stopped. In the first quarter of 2012 sales had dropped by 5.8%, 5.7% in the second and 3.3 in the third quarter, but in the fourth quarter that number had shrunk to a loss of 2%.

 

The group’s new policy of low prices all year round seems to be successful and has been put into higher gear with the appointment of new CEO Georges Plassat.

 

E.Leclerc races towards #1 spot in France

When compared to its French competitors the story of Carrefour has two completely different sides. On the one hand they are doing better than Casino, which saw its sales in France drop by 2.2% to 4.7 billion euro, where Carrefour France had a rise of 0.6% to 10.5 billion euro. Over the entire year Carrefour France rose by 0.1% to 39.53 billion euro, while Casino lost 0.8% to reach only 18.4 billion euro.

 

On the other hand Carrefour is facing stiff competition from discount chain E.Leclerc, who had an excellent 2012. Leclerc's sales rose by 7.5% to 43.7 billion euro, including gas stations. Excluding the gas stations, the turnover is 34.9 billion euro, still a rise of 7%. This is mainly due to its aggressive low prices strategy: E.Leclerc is by far the cheapest chain in France. According to the company they currently hold a market share of 18.6% in France. In 2013 they expect sales to rise another 4 to 6%.   (YVL)

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