* Q3 group sales 21.54 bln euros vs f‘cast 21.5 bln
* Spain, Italy accelerate, Brazil resilient, China weak
* CFO says “comfortable” with estimates for 2015 EBIT of 2.45 bln (Adds CFO comments from call)
By Dominique Vidalon
PARIS, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Carrefour, Europe’s largest retailer, said on Friday sales accelerated in the third quarter, driven by a recovery in southern Europe, good momentum in its core French market and resilience in Brazil, despite a slowing economy.
Sales in China, however, still lagged amid weak consumption and Carrefour said it was pursuing its action plan in the country, which entails expanding in e-commerce and convenience stores and opening logistics centres to cut costs.
The world’s second-largest retailer after Wal-Mart said third-quarter sales reached 21.54 billion euros ($25 billion), versus an average analysts’ forecast of 21.5 billion.
Stripping out fuel and currency effects, revenue grew 4.2 percent, an acceleration from 2.6 percent in the second quarter.
“Europe has now become the group’s growth engine. This excellent third quarter confirms the group’s good momentum in the last three years,” finance head Pierre-Jean Sivignon said.
Carrefour, which has suffered from a reliance on the hypermarket format it pioneered as customers shift to local and online shopping, is in the third year of a global recovery plan started by Chief Executive Georges Plassat.
The company, which makes about three quarters of its sales in Europe, is making price and cost cuts and expanding into smaller convenience stores, while also revamping its hypermarkets.
Sivignon also said he was “comfortable” with the market consensus for 2015 earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of around 2.45 billion euros.
Closely watched same-store sales at French hypermarkets rose 0.7 percent after a 0.5 percent increase in the second quarter. In Spain, the group’s third-largest market, sales rose 4.6 percent, while sales in Italy they rose 5.9 percent.
$1 = 0.8784 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Michel Rose and David Holmes