April 14, 2016 / 5:41 AM / in 2 years

Casino Q1 sales beat forecasts, France improves

PARIS, April 14 (Reuters) - Retailer Casino posted forecast-beating first-quarter sales on Thursday that reflected an improved performance in its core French market thanks to cost cuts, while a decline in consumer electronics demand in recession-hit Brazil slowed.

Casino has come under pressure from U.S. activist investor Muddy Waters and ratings agency Standard & Poor’s, which cut its debt to junk status last month due notably to weakness in Brazil.

The retailer has promised investors to boost profits and cash flow this year in its main French market and reduce debt through asset disposals.

Casino, which controls top Brazilian retailer Grupo Pao de Acucar, posted first-quarter sales of 9.71 billion euros ($10.93 billion). This beat the average analyst estimate of 9.56 billion in a poll provided by the company.

Stripping out acquisitions, disposals, currency effects and fuel, sales rose 1.5 percent in the quarter. ($1 = 0.8883 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by James Regan)

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