Carrefour profit up 7.6 per cent

Carrefour, Europe's top retailer, said the summer sales trend was mixed in Europe but demand was holding up in emerging markets and confirmed it expected operating profit to rise this year.

Tight cost control and buoyant emerging markets lifted first-half profit by 7.6 per cent, in line with guidance given in July, the company said.

Chief financial officer Pierre Bouchut told a conference call that sales trends at Carrefour were "rather satisfactory" in Europe in July but "slightly disappointing" in August while demand was sustained in emerging markets.

The world's No 2 retailer by sales behind US group Wal-Mart confirmed that it expected an underlying operating profit of around 3.1 billion euros (£2.5bn) this year, having achieved £1.096bn in the first-half.

"Our transformation plan is delivering planned results and makes us confident of achieving our 2010 objectives," Chief Executive Lars Olofsson said in a statement.

Carrefour has launched a three-year overhaul plan aimed at tackling underperformance in its main western European markets and delivering 4.5 billion euros of savings.

The French group, which has over 15,500 stores in 35 countries, achieved cost savings of 236m euros in the first half, nearly half the 500m targeted for the full year.

The group, whose stores range from Ed hard discount stores to Carrefour hypermarkets, returned to a first-half net profit of 67 million euros after a loss of 48m in the same period in 2009.