French retailer Carrefour has had a solid first quarter, where especially the strong performance in the home market is a boost. In Belgium, the retailer gained market share again, the south of Europe remained somewhat below expectations.
Hypermarkets resume growth
Top executive Alexandre Bompard was able to announce sales of 18.6 billion euros and comparable growth of 4.2% in the first quarter of 2021, despite a difficult basis for comparison, with the outbreak of the corona crisis and the panic buying frenzy in March last year. The retailer points out that the average comparable growth over the past two years is now 6%. The good figures on the French home market are particularly striking: growth there is 3.5%. The hypermarkets, which have been experiencing a difficult period for some time, were able to grow by 3.3%. This is thanks to the implementation of new working methods that focus on the customer and the execution in the stores, says Carrefour.
This approach also pays off in Belgium: comparable growth amounted to 2.9%. Carrefour again gained market share in the first quarter. Over the past two years, the average comparable growth in the country amounts to 4.6%. Italy (-11.3%) suffered from strict corona measures, Spain (+1.7%) remained below expectations but was severely impacted by snowstorms around Madrid in January. In Eastern Europe, sales declined slightly: -1.8% for Romania and -1.7% in Poland. Despite the major impact of the pandemic in Latin America, Carrefour was able to present strong figures (+15.7%).
Growth from e-commerce, convenience and discount
Carrefour again saw a strong growth of 56% in e-commerce sales. The retailer also invests further in the expansion of growing store formats such as convenience stores and discount formulas.
Alexandre Bompard expressed satisfaction, especially given the difficult basis for comparison against the exceptional period of March 2020, which was marked by the outbreak of the sanitary crisis. “Our growth model, based on operational excellence, competitiveness and the power of our omnichannel offer, translates into market share gains in our main countries. This is notably the case in France, where we outperformed the market in all formats. Our confidence in the success of our transformation plan as well as in our ability to generate high cash flow is further strengthened.” Carrefour also announced a share buyback for 500 million euros.