Carrefour has had a solid first half of the year and gains market share in all of its core markets. However, Belgium is the ugly duckling: sales have dropped there and the French supermarket group is losing money on its investments.
Turnover falls in Belgium
Carrefour’s overall sales rose by 17.2 % in the second quarter, or 7.3 % on a like-for-like basis. The entire first half of the year saw a growth of 13.2 % (or 5.4 % like-for-like). The supermarket group says it is gaining market share in all of its key markets.
Belgium is clearly not one of them, though, as the Belgian branch casts a dark shadow on Carrefour’s otherwise solid quarterly results. In the second quarter, Belgian sales fell by 4.8 %, following a 7 % decline in the first quarter. The quarterly sales amounted to 1.1 billion euro.
In Belgium, Carrefour had to cope with strikes in the warehouse of a logistics partner in Nivelles, but the chain has also been struggling for some time with the sharp competition among supermarkets. Striking: the fact that the recurring operational income (Ebit) in Europe fell by 63 million euros to 163 million is due to the Belgian activities. Elsewhere, the return was stable, says Carrefour itself.
New strategic plan
At group level, recurring revenues in the first half of the year increased by 10 % to 814 million euros, with a margin of 2.1 %. Excluding currency effects, however, only 1.6 % of that growth remained. Carrefour says it was able to save more costs than anticipated and now wants to save one billion euros over the whole year. E-commerce is also accelerating: in the second quarter, online volumes rose by 22 %, compared to + 10 % in the first quarter.
In November, CEO Alexandre Bompard will unveil a new strategic plan. He will announce objectives for the next four years, until 2026.