UPDATE 3-France's Casino says cost cuts to bring rewards in 2015

martes 17 de febrero de 2015 10:28 GYT

* Sees 2015 underlying sales growth in France

* Discounting and partnership to help home market

* Eyes growth opportunities in Brazil - CEO (Adds CEO comments at news conference)

By Dominique Vidalon

PARIS, Feb 17 (Reuters) - French retailer Casino expects to be rewarded for its price-cutting strategy with a higher operating profit in its home market this year after feeling the impact of lower margins in 2014.

Savings from a purchasing deal with local rival Intermarche would also feed through, adding to the beneficial effects of increased sales, Casino said on Tuesday.

Casino, which controls Brazil's top retailer Grupo Pao de Acucar and makes 60 percent of its sales abroad, predicted sustained organic growth at its international business and higher underlying group operating profit.

Casino has cut prices in its Geant hypermarkets and its discount arm LeaderPrice. The move has so far boosted sales volumes but weighed on profit margins and the company expects more of a return this year.

"We are confident that accelerating volumes at Geant and LeaderPrice, lower costs and improved purchasing terms from the Intermarche deal will improve operating profit in France in 2015," Chairman and Chief Executive Jean-Charles Naouri told a news conference.   Continuación...