Carrefour Asia back on offensive

French hypermarket retailer Carrefour is reaping the rewards of restructuring its Asian operations.

The Carrefour Asia business has converted an operating loss of €58 million in 2016 to a return on investment of €4 million US$4.4 million) last year, according to the company’s annual results released overnight.

“Carrefour is back on the offensive and investing to resume growth,” says chairman/CEO Alexandre Bompard.

Carrefour says the group reaped the fruits of action plans implemented in China, in particular in cost reductions, in a market that remains highly competitive and marked by rapidly changing consumption habits.

In Taiwan, sales growth remained strong and operating margin continued to improve.

Globally, Carrefour experienced a slowdown in like-for-like sales at 1.6 per cent, but that is down from 3 per cent in 2016. Net sales totalled €78.8 billion.

Group EBITDA stood at €3.6 billion, down 6.4 per cent at current exchange rates, with margin slipping to 4.6 per cent.

This reflected strong competitive pressure, a rise in distribution costs in the group’s main markets, and an increase in depreciation after a period of significant investments.

Gross margin stood at €18.2 billion, or 23.1 per cent of sales, down 38 points.

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