French retail giant Carrefour has had an encouraging financial year, thanks to strong results in Latin America and market share gains in key European markets. Two countries, are still struggling: Spain and Belgium.
In its latest financial year, Carrefour managed to increase sales like-for-like by 8.5 % to 90.8 billion euros. Operating profit rose by 8 %, while online gross sales even improved by 26 %. In all key markets, the retailer recorded market share gains. In the French home market, where the energy crisis weighed a little less on family budgets, the retailer performed well with a comparable growth of 3.4 %. Latin America (+ 24.6 %) fared even better, thanks in part to the successful integration of Grupo BIG, which was acquired in 2021.
CEO Alexandre Bompard points out that the soundness of Carrefour’s business model is beyond question even in a context of unprecedented inflation. After a successful transformation, the retailer is entering the next phase, with higher ambitions in digital, stronger development of its discount offer, new social and environmental commitments. The company also expects a further increase in sales and profits in 2023.
Signs of improvement
Nevertheless, the operating margin at group level fell slightly, from 3.1 % in 2021 to 2.9 % in 2022. This was due to weaker results in Spain (where purchasing power was under strong pressure) and in Belgium (which posted losses after a 0.9 % drop in comparable sales due to logistical problems and fierce competition). In the fourth quarter, Belgian sales did grow again by 3.4 % and the market share trend shows signs of improvement, the retailer says.
However, that growth is clearly not keeping pace with the country’s high food inflation. Moreover, the retailer will struggle to increase Belgian sales this year, following the sale of franchise partner Mestdagh’s 86 stores to rival Intermarché – although the sale of the stake Carrefour still had in the Mestdagh group brought in the modest sum of 41 million euros.