Casino Q1 shows sales fall, but profits rise

Date : 10 May 2021

Jon Wright

Head of Insight - RA EMEA

Casino said net sales fell by €1.1 bn to €7.1 bn in Q1 2021 versus the year before. Net sales fell by €467m in France, where strong growth at Cdiscount offset challenges elsewhere, while they decreased, in euro terms, by €680m in Latin America. However, the retailer noted the sharp improvement in its profitability during the quarter, with its EBITDA rising by €22m to €429m, driven by its on-going cost saving and operational efficiency plans.

France: same-store sales down 1% on two-year timeframe

Casino reported total sales at its France Retail division fell by 12.8% to €3.39 bn, while organic and same-store growth decreased by 7.3% and 6.4% respectively. However, the retailer noted that over a two-year period same-store sales were down only 1% in France, underlining the challenging comparatives it was up against from 2020 in the quarter, when it saw ‘exceptionally high sales… during the first lockdown’.

Broad-based fall in sales across banners in France…

Compared to Q1 2020 every banner operated by Casino in France saw falls in total, organic and same-store growth. However, on a two-year time horizon the retailer’s Monoprix, Franprix and other convenience banners saw same-store sales increase, by 0.3%, 2.4% and 1.7% respectively. COVID-19’s impact was felt at the retailers’ city centre stores, especially in Paris, which impacted on its Monoprix and Franprix banners. In relation to Franprix Casino said its stores in Paris’s suburbs had seen ‘robust sales’, which offset the challenges in the city centre where it had seen a drop in the number of tourists and office workers.

…Although grocery ecommerce gave it a boost

Casino noted the strong momentum it continued to enjoy through its grocery ecommerce channels, with same-store sales up 38%, which followed sales rising 43% in Q1 2020. The retailer highlighted the positive effect of the warehouse it operated with Ocado technology, with deliveries from it up by 40% versus Q4 2020.

To support its continued online growth, Casino’s Géant Casino and Casino Supermarkets banners ‘adopted a single website and a competitive, unified pricing policy’, added 400 in-store pedestrian pick-up points, while the retailer said home delivery was also available from 290 of them. Casino also highlighted the partnership it had signed with Uber Eats, which will lead to a fast delivery service being launched at about 500 stores by autumn 2021. Meanwhile, it also opened its first pedestrian pick-up point under the Monoprix banner too.

Positive performance at Cdiscount aided by shift to marketplace sales

At Cdsicount Casino reported net sales grew 5% in Q1 2021, while its GMV sales increased by 11.8%. However, within the breakdown of its GMV sales, direct sales were flat, while sales through its marketplace increased by 34.3%. The company noted the switch to ‘higher margin and recurring purchase categories’ supporting its performance too.

Latin America: performance driven by growth in Brazil

In Latin America Casino reported that same-store sales rose by 4.0% or by 8.4% on an organic basis, with continued strength in Brazil aiding its growth. In the country net sales increased by 6.4%, while organic sales rose by 12.1%, while elsewhere in the region (other than in inflationary driven Argentina) sales fell, down 3.9% in Colombia, while they fell 4.9% in Uruguay. In Argentina sales increased by 20.7%, but the retailer noted that inflation in the country stood at 40%.