April 10 (Bloomberg) -- Carrefour SA, France’s largest retailer, reported first-quarter revenue that matched analysts’ estimates as a recovery at its Spanish and Belgian units contrasted with weakness in Italy and China.
Revenue fell 3.7 percent to 19.8 billion euros ($27 billion), Boulogne-Billancourt, France-based Carrefour said today. That matched the median of 13 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales at stores open a year or more advanced 0.7 percent, excluding currency swings.
Carrefour, which is weighing selling a stake in its Brazil unit next year, is focusing on price and convenience as it seeks to cement a revival in France and strengthen sales in the rest of Europe, Latin America and China. Same-store sales in Spain gained 0.1 percent, Carrefour said, marking the second consecutive quarter of growth after six years of declines.
“The recovery continued in Spain and Belgium, Brazil continues to see high growth; but Italy is in freefall and China is still showing negative” same-store sales growth, said Bruno Monteyne, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in London.
Carrefour considers the 2.38 billion-euro consensus analyst estimate for 2014 current operating income to be “reasonable” based on current exchange rates, Chief Financial Officer Pierre-Jean Sivignon said today on a call with reporters.
The stock fell as much as 0.8 percent to 28.95 euros and traded 0.3 percent lower at 28.93 euros as of 9:23 a.m. in Paris, giving the retailer a market value of about 21 billion euros.
Motier SAS, the holding company of France’s Moulin family, this week said it acquired 6.1 percent of Carrefour. The investment is “strategic,” Motier said. The Moulin family also owns department-store chain Galeries Lafayette, which in 2012 agreed to sell a 50 percent stake in Monoprix to Carrefour rival Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA.
Same-store sales at Carrefour’s French hypermarkets fell 1.9 percent, while supermarket sales gained 0.2 percent, Carrefour said. The performance in Spain, which is Carrefour’s third-largest country by revenue after France and Brazil, contrasted with a 7.6 percent decline in Italy. Sales gained 0.5 percent in Belgium.
Latin American same-store sales gained 10 percent, excluding currency swings, Carrefour said. In China, sales declined 4 percent on the same basis. Total revenue from emerging markets fell 9.2 percent to 5.52 billion euros as currencies declined against the euro. At constant exchange rates, sales from those countries rose 8.6 percent.
The quarterly performance “shows pretty good control,” John Kershaw, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, said by phone.
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