* Q2 sales 11.76 bln euros vs poll 11.65 bln euros
* Group underlying sales down 0.4 pct vs up 2.7 pct in Q1
* French Geant Casino hypermarkets back to sales growth
* Brazil same-store consumer electronics sales down 23.6 pct
* CFO says consensus for 2015 EBIT of 2.13 bln euros “realistic” (Adds details, CFO comments)
By Dominique Vidalon
PARIS, July 15 (Reuters) - Retailer Casino said sales went into reverse in the second quarter, reflecting weak consumer electronics demand in its top market Brazil, though number-two market France saw a marked improvement at its hypermarkets after price cuts.
Finance chief Antoine Giscard d‘Estaing said the market consensus for 2015 group earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of 2.13 billion euros ($2.3 billion) was “realistic”, repeating price cuts would weigh on operating profit in France in the first half.
That would compare with 2.23 billion reported in 2014.
Casino, which makes 60 percent of its sales in emerging markets and controls Brazil’s top retailer Grupo Pao de Acucar , said second-quarter group sales reached 11.76 billion euros.
Analysts had expected 11.65 billion.
Stripping out acquisitions, currency effects and excluding petrol, sales eased by 0.4 percent, against the 2.7 percent growth seen in the first quarter.
Major retailers across Europe such as Carrefour and Tesco have struggled as shoppers’ disposable income has been squeezed by subdued wage growth and austerity measures.
Most have responded with price cuts.
In France, Casino has cut prices in its Geant hypermarkets and discount arm LeaderPrice, and Giscard d‘Estaing said he was confident French sales would recover in the second half.
Same-store sales at the French Geant hypermarkets rose 2.0 percent in the second quarter after falling 1.5 percent on the same comparable basis in the first quarter 2015.
Same-store sales at LeaderPrice were down 0.9 percent, against a 7.1 percent decline in the first quarter.
The company has also been expanding for a number of years in the fast-growing emerging markets of Thailand, Brazil, Vietnam and Colombia. Brazil accounts for around 40 percent of Casino group sales and 60 percent of operating profit.
Second-quarter same-store food sales in Brazil rose 2.4 percent against 2.8 percent growth in the first quarter.
But consumer electronics sales in Brazil, which are more sensitive to economic conditions, sank 23.6 percent on a same-store basis after falling 2.7 percent in the first quarter.
The business also suffered from unfavourable comparisons with the year-ago quarter, which was boosted by the soccer World Cup. In Brazil the priority was to renovate the group’s store network and cut costs, Giscard d‘Estaing said. ($1 = 0.9134 euros) (Editing by David Holmes)