Saint-Etienne, 21 April 2008
Consolidated sales for the first quarter of 2008 rose a very strong 25.2% from the prior-year period, led by faster organic growth of 7.6% and the full consolidation of Exito in Colombia and Super de Boer in the Netherlands.
Performance was satisfactory in France, where sales gained 5.3% on robust growth at the supermarket banners – Casino supermarkets (up 10.1%) and Monoprix (up 4.1%) – and the sustained increase in Franprix/Leader Price sales (up 8.5%).
At the latter banners, the upturn in sales reported in fourth-quarter 2007 gathered momentum in the first three months of 2008. Same-store growth turned positive at Leader Price, at 1.3% versus a 3.8% decline in fourth-quarter 2007, and continued to improve at Franprix, gaining 5.8%.
The Group is benefiting from its favourable format mix, which is heavily weighted towards the market’s most promising segments, supermarkets and discount formats. The good performance in France also reflects the effectiveness of the Group’s marketing policies and the ramp up of its differentiation drivers, particularly the strong development of private-label sales which once again enjoyed double-digit growth for the period.
International operations confirmed their role as a growth driver, with organic growth accelerating to 15.2% for the quarter on faster gains of 20.1% in South America and 12.6% in Asia. This excellent performance reflected sustained same-store growth, particularly in South America, and the Group’s assertive expansion strategy in the key countries of Brazil, Colombia and Thailand.
International operations now account for close to 35% of consolidated sales.
The Group confirms its objectives for full year 2008:
Faster organic growth in sales.
Further growth in trading profit.
Sales in France rose 5.3% in the first quarter of 2008, including a slight 0.3% positive impact from the number of selling days.
Franprix/Leader Price sales rose 8.5% in the first quarter, demonstrating that the sales recovery is gaining momentum at both banners.
Franprix reported another improvement in same-store performance, up 5.8%, while at Leader Price same-store sales rose 1.3%, sustaining the upturn observed in fourth-quarter 2007. At both banners, same-store growth was driven mainly by higher checkout flowthroughs, demonstrating the effectiveness of the banners’ marketing initiatives and the customer appeal of their concepts.
Géant Casino hypermarket sales rose 1% on a same-store basis. Excluding gasoline, sales were down 1.5% for the quarter, with the average basket up 2.1%.
Given the lacklustre state of consumer spending, non-food sales contracted by 6.3%, with every product family showing a decline.
Food sales edged up just 0.3%, reflecting, in particular, the shift towards private-label products and the impact of price investments during the period.
Private-label sales enjoyed double-digit growth, thanks to the brand’s competitive price positioning and assertive innovation strategy. Private-label and value-line items accounted for 43% of FMCG and refrigerated product sales, an increase of three points for the quarter.
Deployment of the dunnhumby approach has enabled Géant Casino to continue enhancing its price competitiveness. Since the beginning of the year, the banner has offered the market’s lowest prices on more than 2,500 national brand, private-label and value line products, which together accounted for 42% of the FMCG and refrigerated products sold in Géant Casino hypermarkets, versus 28% previously.
Casino supermarkets turned in an excellent performance for the quarter, with same-store sales rising 7.5% or 5% excluding gasoline. Growth was led by a 1.6% rise in checkout flowthroughs and a 3.4% increase in the average basket.
These good results reflect the sustained success of the banner’s marketing strategy, based on developing the private label, enhancing the fresh food offering and leveraging the cooperation with dunnhumby to optimise pricing and product offerings.
The continued implementation of an assertive expansion strategy helped to drive a 10.1% increase in total reported sales.
Monoprix sales were up 4.1% for the quarter, or 2.3% on a same-store basis. Performance was satisfactory in both food and non-food items, despite market conditions that were unfavourable for apparel sales in March. Monoprix is benefiting from its differentiated positioning as a city-centre banner, offering a high-quality, contemporary merchandise selection.
The chain continued to develop new concepts, with the opening of three Monop’ stores during the period.
Superettes sales were up 1.7% for the quarter.
Sales by the other businesses (Cdiscount, Mercialys, Casino Cafétéria and Banque Casino) rose 11.2% in the first quarter, with Cdiscount reporting sustained strong sales growth, at 16% for the period.
International sales surged 93% in the first quarter, led by the full consolidation of Exito as of 1 May 2007 and of Super de Boer as of 1 January 2008, which together accounted for 79.7 points of growth. The currency effect was a negative 1.9%, due primarily to the decline in the Venezuelan, Thai and Argentine currencies against the euro, partially offset by the appreciation of the Brazilian real during the period.
Organic growth was a very strong 15.2%, reflecting faster momentum in both South America and Asia.
In South America , organic growth was a very strong 20.1%, lifted by sustained same-store growth of 13.2%. In Brazil, CBD reported a sharp improvement in same-store sales, which rose 8.9% with faster gains in both food and non-food segments. Operations in Argentina, Venezuela and Uruguay continued to deliver very high same-store growth.
In Colombia, Exito continued to integrate Carulla Vivero and to leverage synergies, notably by pursuing the store conversion and banner rationalisation programme.
Organic growth in Asia came to 12.6%, led by sustained expansion of the store base and a satisfactory 4.8% increase in same-store sales. In Thailand, Big C opened a new hypermarket during the quarter, increasing the store base to 55 as of 31 March.
In the Indian Ocean , organic growth stood at 3.3%, with same-store sales up 3.0%.
In the Netherlands, Super de Boer has been fully consolidated since 1 January 2008. Same-store growth gathered momentum in the first quarter, rising 7% and attesting to the success of the chain’s marketing strategy. The Casino Group now owns 57% of Super de Boer following the acquisition of a 12% stake from Amber in the first quarter.
Main changes in the scope of consolidation
Exito (Colombia), which was previously accounted for by the equity method, has been fully consolidated since 1 May 2007.
Disco (Uruguay) has been proportionately consolidated on a 62.5% basis since 1 August 2007, versus 58% as from 1 October 2006.
Assai (Brazil) has been fully consolidated within CBD since 1 November 2007.
Super de Boer (Netherlands), which was previously accounted for by the equity method, has been fully consolidated since 1 January 2008.
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