February 28, 2019 / 6:48 AM / 3 months ago

Retailer Carrefour raises cost savings goal under overhaul plan

PARIS, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Carrefour said its turnaround plan was well on track and raised its savings goals, after Europe’s largest retailer delivered cost cuts of 1.05 billion euros ($1.2 billion) in 2018 and a higher free cash flow.

The French supermarket retailer also reported a well-flagged 3.4 percent decline in 2018 operating profit, reflecting restructuring charges in its core French market despite a robust performance in Brazil.

Carrefour kept its annual dividend unchanged at 0.46 euros and raised some of its targets under its “Carrefour 2022” plan.

It said it now eyed cost savings of 2.8 billion euros by 2020 instead of the 2 billion previously targeted.

Its 2018 recurring operating profit reached 1.938 billion euros, in line with the company’s own guidance for 1.930 billion provided in January.

In France, where CEO Alexandre Bompard has made reviving flagging sales at hypermarket stores a priority, operating profit fell 43.3 percent to 466 million euros.

Carrefour is in the midst of a five-year plan launched one year ago to cut costs and jobs, boost E-commerce investment and seek a partnership in China with tech giant Tencent in an effort to lift profits and sales and tackle the growing competition from U.S. online retail giant Amazon

$1 = 0.8793 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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