UPDATE 3-Carrefour recovery gains pace on Brazil, southern Europe
(Adds details on Brazil, Spain, Italy, updates shares)
By Dominique Vidalon
PARIS, April 15 (Reuters) - Brazil and southern Europe drove first quarter sales growth at Carrefour as its turnaround strategy gained traction, and the world's second-biggest retailer said it was comfortable with market expectations of higher full year profits.
Shares were up 5 percent at 26.37 euros by 1329 GMT as Spain's improving economy boosted the French grocer while price cuts and store revamps boosted Italian sales, Chief Financial Officer Pierre-Jean Sivignon said in a trading update.
Same-store sales in Brazil, Carrefour's second largest market after home base France, rose 9.9 percent in the quarter.
Carrefour has better weathered recession in Brazil than French peer Casino or U.S. rival Wal-Mart as it sells mostly food which is less vulnerable to reduced consumer spending.
It also controls Atacadao, Brazil's largest cash-and-carry store operator, which Jefferies analysts said in a note was "the perfect positioning for a stressed Brazilian consumer".
Carrefour outperformed its European sector, which was up 0.12 percent, and was the top gainer on the CAC-40 index of French blue chips which fell 0.37 percent.
"Reassuring trading update," said Exane BNP Paribas analysts, adding that remarks made by Sivignon on the profit outlook were "encouraging at this early stage in the year". Continuación...