July 28, 2016 / 5:39 AM / 2 years ago

CORRECTED-Carrefour H1 core operating profit up 5.3 pct

(Corrects 2016 EBIT consensus to 2.47 bln euros from 2.49 bln, and resulting percentage change to 1 percent)

PARIS, July 28 (Reuters) - Carrefour, the world’s second-largest retailer, said underlying operating profit rose 5.3 percent in the first half while sales growth slowed in the second quarter, reflecting challenging conditions in its core French market and losses in China.

Elsewhere in Europe however, the group’s turnaround continued to take hold and Brazilian operations stayed robust, the French company said in a statement.

Carrefour, which makes 73 percent of its sales in Europe, is pursuing a global revival by focusing on price and cost cuts, and expansion into smaller convenience stores, while also renovating its core traditional hypermarket network.

In France, Carrefour, like smaller peer Casino, suffered setbacks ranging from bad weather to strikes that hit sales at its French hypermarkets while the integration of the loss-making Dia discount stores still weighed on profitability.

Europe’s largest retailer said first-half recurring operating profit rose 5.3 percent to 706 million euros ($781 million) at constant exchange rates, beating the average estimate of 685 million in a ThomsonReuters poll.

Finance Director Pierre-Jean Sivignon said the market consensus forecast for 2016 earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of around 2.47 billion euros was “reasonable” at this stage, implying a 1 percent rise from last year’s 2.45 billion euros. But he said this was subject to choppy currency markets.($1 = 0.9038 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, Tim Hepher, Editing by Victoria Bryan)

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