January 17, 2017 / 6:32 AM / a year ago

Retailer Casino keeps French profit goal after Q4 sales improvement

PARIS, Jan 17 (Reuters) - French retailer Casino said on Tuesday it would deliver on its French profit forecast for 2016 after fourth-quarter sales reflected an improvement in its home market on a same-store basis, notably at the Geant hypermarkets.

In Brazil, its second-biggest market by revenue, food retail sales were robust, driven by the cash and carry Assai stores and sales revitalisation of the Extra hypermarkets, Casino said.

Casino, whose credit rating was cut to junk by Standard & Poor’s last March, is under pressure to revive profits in its biggest market in France, where it now makes more than 50 percent of its sales, at a time of slower growth in Brazil.

Casino added it no longer consolidates Brazil’s Via Varejo consumer electronics unit, which it plans to sell.

Casino, which controls Brazil’s Grupo Pao de Acucar , posted fourth-quarter sales of 10.929 billion euros ($11.65 billion).

Stripping out acquisitions, disposals, currency effects and fuel, group sales rose 5.1 percent year-on-year.

Casino, which reports full-year earnings on March 7, said full-year 2016 trading profit in France - estimated and unaudited - was slightly over 500 million euros, as forecast by the company.

The figures were published on the company’s website.

$1 = 0.9381 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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