Carrefour eyes higher 2019 profit as Q4 sales accelerate

PARIS, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Carrefour, Europe’s largest retailer, said revenue growth accelerated in the fourth quarter, driven by strong sales in Brazil, while conditions remained challenging in France, where transport strikes weighed on business at its hypermarkets.

Carrefour, which has a purchasing alliance with Britain’s Tesco and is cutting costs, as well as repositioning its business in its core French market, said that it expected its 2019 recurring operating profit to reach 2.090 billion euros. The company reports its full earnings in late February.

For France alone, it predicted 2019 recurring operating profit would grow at a double-digit rate.

Fourth-quarter sales came to 21.74 billion euros ($24.12 billion), broadly in line with expectations.

Sales growth reached 3.1% on a like-for-like basis, excluding fuel and calendar effects, against 2.3% in the previous quarter.

In France, sales were down 0.9%, after falling by a similar 0.9% in the third quarter. Hypermarket sales were down 3.4% in the last three months of the year after falling 3.6% in the third quarter.

Carrefour is in the middle of a five-year plan it launched in 2018 to cut costs and boost e-commerce investment in a bid to lift profits and revenues and help it tackle competition from Amazon. It kept all its targets under the plan. ($1 = 0.9014 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, Editing by Sarah White)