Carrefour: strong in France, weak in Belgium

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Carrefour has recorded a fairly strong third quarter on its French home market, but in other European countries - and especially in Belgium - the figures are disappointing, partly due to a very difficult basis for comparison.

 

Market share gains in France

After the exceptional sales increases in 2020, food retailers have both feet on the ground this year. Consumers are eating out again and consumption is normalising, so supermarkets are seeing their Covid bonuses evaporate. This also applies to Carrefour: in the third quarter of this year, the retailer reported a comparable sales increase of 0.8 % to 20.468 billion euros. All in all, this is still slightly above analyst expectations.

 

In France, the retailer was able to gain market share. Hypermarkets may have suffered from the introduction of the Covid Safe Ticket for large shopping centres, but supermarkets, convenience stores and online sales improved. The group also performed well in Romania (+ 5.8 %) and saw a slight increase in comparable sales in Poland (+ 0.9 %) and Italy (+ 0.8 %). In Spain, comparable sales decreased by 2.3 %, despite market share gains.

 

Belgium deteriorates

In Belgium, Carrefour suffered a significant decline: quarterly sales decreased by 5.4 % to 1.01 billion euros. That decline is, according to the retailer, due to increased price pressure in the market and the difficult basis for comparison: during summer last year, most people stayed in the country due to travel restrictions, which meant local shops sold more. Compared to sales in 2019, sales were rather stable. In the second quarter too, Carrefour Belgium already had to swallow a substantial sales decline due to that difficult comparison base.

 

In Latin America and Asia (Taiwan), the picture looks brighter. In addition, the retailer sees strong growth in e-commerce, where food sales increased by 19 % - and even by 100 % over the past two years. Carrefour, meanwhile, continues its transformation plan: in Italy, the retailer is transferring more than 50 stores to independent franchisees this year, with another 25 to follow in the first quarter of next year. In France, the group franchised 10 hypermarkets and 44 supermarkets. Another 10 hypermarkets and 27 supermarkets will follow as of March 2022.