French supermarket group Casino achieved a double-digit growth in Latin America last year, but fared less prosperously in its home market. The group’s French supermarkets and hypermarkets are struggling, fuelled by inflation.
Casino did end 2022 above expectations: sales went up 10 % to 33.61 billion euros, a 5.2 % rise like-for-like. The fourth quarter raked in 9.16 billion euros in revenue, almost a 10 % growth (or 4.4 % like-for-like). Underneath those fine growth figures, however, a less pretty picture is hidden.
There is a big difference between the French and Latin American operations: high inflation reduced volumes in France, leaving hardly any growth. Casino has also been struggling for some time with its French supermarkets and hypermarkets. The smaller convenience stores are still doing well, although Monoprix feels that the tourists have not all returned to Paris yet.
Over the year as a whole, sales in French physical shops (excluding webshop Cdiscount) rose by 1.5 % to 14.2 billion euros – a much slower growth than inflation. Supermarkets and hypermarkets (together accounting for half the business in France) actually lost 0.4 % year-on-year and 0.1 % on a like-for-like basis. South American sales, however, were up 12 % on a like-for-like basis, both for the whole of 2022 and the fourth quarter.
By comparison, rival Carrefour posted a 5.6 % rise in French comparable sales in the fourth quarter, Barclays points out in an analysis. Its hypermarkets went up 3.7 %, supermarkets even 5.9 %. According to Barclays, Casino is clearly underperforming in the French market, but not just there. In the last quarter, for example, the group sold 9.7 % more in Brazil: that seems impressive, but it is well below the country’s food inflation of 13 % and lower than Carrefour’s 11.1 % sales growth in Brazil.
Casino needs to take urgent action, retail watcher Olivier Dauvers also concludes. The group responds with an expansion plan: it opened 879 new convenience stores in France last year, and this year Monoprix aims to double its expansion with the opening of 100 new shops. Franprix plans to maintain the existing pace this year, after 181 openings in 2022. Another interesting development for Casino this year is the possible sale of Cdiscount to Fnac Darty, that may be sped up by the fact that Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky is both shareholder at Fnac Darty and at Casino.