Announcing its full year results, Carrefour has reported like-for-like sales growth of 7.8%, as sales, including VAT, reached €78.6 bn. The retailer also saw an improvement in its recurring operating margin, which increased to 3.1%, from 2.9%, with its recurring operating income rising by 16.4% to €2.1 bn.
France: Carrefour enjoys strongest growth in almost 20 years
In its home market Carrefour reported like-for-like sales growth of 3.6% for its full year, with a 1.0% improvement seen for its hypermarkets. The retailer enjoyed a stronger performance in its fourth quarter, with like-for-like sales up by 5.5% in total, with a 5.4% improvement in like-for-like sales of food and a 5.7% rise for non-food, in same terms.
By channel, Carrefour saw a 3.9% rise in like-for-like sales in the fourth quarter in its hypermarkets, a 9.8% increase at its supermarkets and a 5.9% uplift at its convenience stores. Finally, underlining the channel’s wider growth and its increasing focus on it, food ecommerce sales rose by 58% in the fourth quarter. The pace of growth at its operations in France saw the retailer gain market share in Q4.
Europe: commercial momentum building in key markets
In its European operations, excluding France, Carrefour saw like-for-like sales increase by 3.5% in 2020. However, in contrast to its home market, its performance slowed in the fourth quarter, where it reported growth of 1.8%. In the final quarter Carrefour saw like-for-like growth of 6.0% in Spain, with strength at its hypermarkets boosted by food ecommerce enjoying an increase in sales of 73%.
In Belgium, its focus on providing value helped it gain market share throughout 2020. Like-for-like sales in the fourth quarter increased by 5.7%. Meanwhile, in Romania, like-for-like sales rose by 1.6%, despite challenges posed by travel restrictions limiting the return to the country of workers from abroad. Carrefour said its ‘dominant position in food ecommerce’ supported its performance.
On the downside, though, Carrefour reported a contraction in like-for-like sales in its fourth quarter in Italy, where they contracted by 7.6%, and Poland, where they fell by 4.2%. Its operations in both countries suffered from lockdown restrictions, which affected their stores in shopping centres.
Latin America: continued strength, especially in Brazil
In the full year Carrefour said like-for-like sales rose 23.0% in Latin America, with its operations in Brazil seeing them rise 18.2%, while they were up by 49.3% in Argentina. In Brazil, the retailer said its fourth quarter outperformed the year, with like-for-like sales up by 24.5% at constant exchange rates. Its hypermarkets and supermarkets saw like-for-like sales rise by 13.3%, helping it gain share in the country. Its Atacadão banner enjoyed like-for-like sales growth of 27.0%, with total sales boosted by new openings. Food ecommerce sales rose 163%.