CARREFOUR GROWS TOTAL GROUP Q1 SALES TO €18.6 BILLION

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Carrefour has reported a rise in turnover of 2.2%, in the first quarter of 2021, to €18.6 billion.

The company’s performance in Latin America and Asia drove top line growth, while in like-for-like terms the retailer saw a benefit from its operations in France and Latin America. 

Its first quarter results enabled it to confirm its operational and financial objectives, which it laid out as part of its 2022 strategic plan.

Carrefour reported:

  • Total group sales increased 2.2% to €18.6bn, like-for-like sales were +4.2%;
  • Sales in France fell 1.4% to €9.2bn, like-for-like sales were up +3.5%;
  • Sales in Europe fell 2.6% to €5.5bn, like-for-like sales were down 1.6%;
  • Sales in Latin America increased 17.2% to €3.3bn, like-for-like sales were up +15.7%; and
  • Sales in Asia increased 6.7% to €660 million, like-for-like sales were down 6.4%.

In France, Carrefour reported strong like-for-like growth across all formats, including a rise of 3.3% at its hypermarkets and 7% at its supermarkets. Non-food sales increased 10.8%, while food sales were up by 1.7% at its hypermarkets.

Carrefour announced that its Team Organisation Project (TOP) has been deployed to around 90% of its hypermarkets and more than 100 supermarkets to date.

TOP is a new in-store structure and workflows programme designed to help optimise the supply of ambient and fresh departments and improve shopper satisfaction.

It aims to drive efficiency by separating staff into three teams:

Back-office: employees will be dedicated to store replenishment and making sure inventory levels are right;

Front office: employees on the shop floor, who are in contact with shoppers to help and advise them; and 

Scan: using data staff will identify any potential problems of execution (such as on-shelf product availability, pricing and promotional accuracy, and shrinkage, amongst others) and will oversee how they can be fixed

Jon Wright, Head of Insight, EMEA, at Retail Analysis, said: “The focus on each area optimises the time staff spend on each task and aims to increase product availability, while lowering breakages.

“The new organisation should generate operational cost savings, through better productivity, which Carrefour can invest in its operations more widely or in prices to remain competitive with discounters and value-focused rivals.”

Focus on growth formats proving successful

Although implementing and driving an omnichannel strategy, Carrefour has put an emphasis on expanding with certain formats. In Q1 2021, it said it had added or opened 559 convenience stores, which included the acquired Bio c’Bon, Wellcome and some Supersol stores, as well as nine Atacadão and 20 Supeco stores.

In France, Carrefour reported its convenience stores had seen a rise in like-for-like sales of 4.1% on a two-year average, with particularly strong growth in January and February. In Brazil, its AtacadĂŁo chain saw sales rise 17.5%, with like-for-like sales rising 12.9% and new store openings aiding growth by 6%.

Grocery ecommerce goes from strength to strength

Carrefour reported sales had risen 56% at a group level, after seeing an advance of 45% in Q1 2020.

Specifically in France it reported that gross merchandise value rose by 51%. To help sustain this pace of growth the retailer said it was accelerating its rollout of a partnership with Deliveroo, and by raising the number of stores – or contact points – offering Carrefour e-commerce services to 2,000, by the end of 2021.

In Brazil, the company reported that food e-commerce sales increased by 140% in the quarter, while in Romania the channel had enjoyed strong momentum. The pace of growth enabled Carrefour to confirm its target of generating €4.2bn in food e-commerce in 2022.

Acquisitions support growth outlook

Carrefour completed the acquisition of Supersol in Spain in March, which it said should generate an additional EBITDA of around €50m by 2023.

In Brazil, the retailer opened nine AtacadĂŁo stores, of which five were conversions of acquired Makro stores. In Taiwan, acquisitions contributed growth of 15.5% following the integration of the recently-acquired Wellcome stores.

Looking to the future, the retailer highlighted its acquisition of Gruppo BIG, Brazil’s third largest food retailer. While the acquisition is not expected to close until 2022, Carrefour believes it offers significant synergy potential from the first year, gradually ramping up to reach a net EBITDA contribution €260m on an annual basis three years after the effective completion of the transaction’.

Covid-19 related challenges continue to affect some markets

However, underlining the on-going effects and impact of Covid-19, Carrefour’s positive performance was not uniform on a global basis.

In Italy like-for-like sales fell 11.3% in Q1 2021, while they were down 4.4% on a two-year average basis. It said on-going traffic restrictions and the closure of shopping centres affected performance.

The latter point was also felt in Poland, where like-for-like sales were down 2.3% in Q1, although they were up by 3.3% on a two-year average basis.

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