Faster organic growth: up 3.5% (vs. 0.1% in Q4-2009)
Good performance by the convenience formats in France
Double-digit growth in International operations
Consolidated net sales rose by a sustained 5.6% in the first quarter of 2010.
The favourable impact of the consolidation of Ponto Frio by Grupo Pão de Açúcar was offset by the deconsolidation of Venezuelan operations (2) as of 1 January, leading to a negative 1.2% impact from changes in the scope of consolidation. The positive 3.4% currency effect primarily reflected the sharp increase in the Brazilian real and the Colombian peso against the euro during the period.
Higher petrol prices added 0.9% to growth, while the calendar effect was a slightly negative 0.3% in France and neutral in International operations.
Organic growth for the quarter stood at 3.5% (2.6% excluding petrol), representing a noticeable acceleration from fourth-quarter 2009 (down 0.2% excluding petrol).
(2) On 17 January 2010, President Hugo Chavez announced the nationalisation of the Exito hypermarkets operated in Venezuela. Talks are still underway with the government with a view to selling a majority stake in Cativen, the company which consolidates all the Group operations in Venezuela.
In France, the sales trend improved in the first quarter, with organic sales excluding petrol slightly down (0.9%) versus a 2.7% decrease in fourth-quarter 2009.
– All of the convenience formats (Casino Supermarkets, Monoprix, Superettes and Franprix) reported a tangible improvement in performance, with a gain in total sales for the period.
– Cdiscount maintained its strong sales momentum.
– The sales trend at Géant Casino and Leader Price gradually improved over the quarter, reflecting the initial impact of reinvesting the gains from the pooled purchasing of private-label and value-line products.
International operations, which represented 36% of sales, saw a sharp acceleration in organic growth, to 10.6% from 4.8% in fourth-quarter 2009.
– Operations in South America reported double-digit (13.3%) growth, impelled notably by the very strong gains in Brazil.
– In Asia, organic growth remained brisk, rising 7.3% on the back of firm sales in Thailand and sustained strong growth in Vietnam.
In all, the solid first-quarter performance attested to the good positioning of the Group’s business portfolio:
– A favourable business mix in France, weighted towards the convenience and discount formats, and leadership in the non-food e-commerce segment.
– In international markets, leadership positions in countries with high growth potential.
Groupe Casino is confident in its ability to strengthen its market share in France by improving the price competitiveness of its banners through the reinvestment of purchasing gains and by faster expansion in the convenience and discount formats.
Internationally, the quality of the Group’s assets should drive further strong and profitable growth.
The Group will pursue its €1 billion asset disposal programme and confirms its target of a net debt/EBITDA ratio of less than 2.2x at year-end 2010.
Sales in France rose 0.4% over the period. Petrol sales had a 1.3% positive impact.
Excluding petrol, sales ended the period down a slight 0.9%, compared with a 2.7% decline in fourth-quarter 2009.
The first quarter therefore saw a tangible improvement in the sales trend, led by a good performance across all of the convenience formats.
Franprix’s same-store sales rose 0.6%, driven by a 0.8% increase in footfalls. The banner’s attractiveness has been enhanced by the faster deployment of the new store concept, with 34 units upgraded during the quarter versus 39 in all of 2009. The impact has been highly satisfactory, with double-digit sales gains at the renovated stores.
Leader Price reported a 10.8% drop in same-store sales. The sales trend improved in March, reflecting the initial impact of price cuts thanks to the purchasing gains resulting from the pooling of the Group’s private-label and value-line products.
Expansion continued in line with the business plan, with the opening of 15 Franprix stores and 9 Leader Price stores during the quarter.
In all, Franprix-Leader Price sales ended the period down 3.5%.
Géant Casino sales declined by 4.7% on a same-store basis, excluding petrol.
The average basket was stable, up 0.2%, footfalls were down 4.9%.
Food sales were down 4.0%. Purchasing gains began to be reinvested mainly in March. These significant, targeted price cuts will be pursued and will help to strengthen the banner’s price competitiveness.
Non-food sales declined by 6.4% over the period, notably due to the process of repositioning the offer around the most revenue generating and profitable categories. The banner thus continued to cut back on the assortment of large appliances. On the other hand, certain multimedia families and small electrical appliances saw a significant increase in sales over the quarter.
Casino Supermarkets’ same-store sales improved tangibly over the quarter, declining by 1% year-on-year, compared with a 3.4% decrease in fourth-quarter 2009. Average spend rose by 0.7%, led by the banner’s expertise in fresh and chilled food products.
Excluding petrol, total sales were up 1.2%.
Led by growth in both food and non-food business, Monoprix reported a solid 2.3% increase in same-store sales, an excellent performance that once again demonstrated the success of the banner’s differentiated positioning.
A Citymarché unit and two Naturalia stores were opened during the period.
Total sales were up 3.4%.
Superette sales eased back a limited 1.2% in the first quarter, as the favourable impact of new franchisees was offset by sustained rationalisation of the store base.
Cdiscount maintained strong sales growth. New initiatives are being planned to strengthen the company’s growth momentum, such as the possibility of picking up purchases in Géant Casino and superette stores and the development of private label products.
In all, sales by the other businesses (Cdiscount, Mercialys, Casino Cafeteria and Banque Casino) rose by 6.4% over the quarter.
International sales rose by a very robust 16.4% over the quarter.
The favourable impact of Ponto Frio’s consolidation by Grupo Pão de Açúcar (GPA) was offset by the deconsolidation of Venezuelan operations as of 1 January 2010, leading to a negative 4.5% impact from changes in the scope of consolidation.
The positive 10.3% currency effect primarily reflected the sharp increase in the Brazilian real and the Colombian peso against the euro during the period.
The significant acceleration in organic growth, to 10.6% from 4.9% in first-quarter 2009, was led by very strong growth in South America (up 13.3%) and sustained robust momentum in Asia (up 7.3%).
In South America, same-store sales rose 10.5% over the quarter (versus 4.4% in 2009), lifted by double-digit growth in Brazil and improved sales both in Colombia and Argentina.
– GPA’s same-store sales rose 18.1%*, led by both food and non food. All of the banners contributed to this excellent performance. E-business sales increased by a very strong 65.3% including VAT. Reported sales surged 50.2%* on the consolidation of Ponto Frio, which saw a sustained turnaround with sales up more than 50% over the period.
– In Colombia, Exito saw a tangible 2.6% improvement in same-store sales, while expansion drove a 3.7%* increase as reported.
Operations in Asia reported another quarter of robust organic growth, up 7.3% thanks to an improvement in Big C’s same-store sales in Thailand and sustained strong momentum in Vietnam. A hypermarket was opened in Vietnam, increasing the store base to 10 at 31 March.
Performance in the Indian Ocean was satisfactory over the quarter, with a 0.3% decline in same-store sales and a 1.9% increase on an organic basis.
*Data published by the company
Main changes in the scope of consolidation
• Ponto Frio has been consolidated by the Grupo Pão de Açúcar (GPA) since 1 July 2009.
• Following the acquisition, GPA launched a rights issue, which had the effect of reducing Groupe Casino’s stake from 35.0% at 30 June to 33.7% as of 21 September 2009.
• On 17 January 2010, President Hugo Chavez announced the nationalisation of the Exito hypermarkets operated in Venezuela. Talks are still underway with the government with a view to selling a majority stake in Cativen, the company which consolidates all the Group operations in Venezuela. Venezuelan operations have no longer been fully consolidated since 1 January 2010.
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Saint-Etienne –14 April 2010