April 23, 2020 / 4:09 PM / a month ago

Casino's first quarter sales growth accelerates, boosted by food demand in France

PARIS, April 23 (Reuters) - Retailer Casino, battling investor concerns over its high debt, said revenue growth accelerated in the first-quarter, reflecting strong food sales in its core French market amid the coronavirus epidemic, and a robust performance in Brazil.

Casino, which last month suspended its financial guidance for 2020 due to uncertainties tied to the coronavirus pandemic, said the lockdown in place in France since March 17 led to “unprecedented” food demand notably at its convenience stores and in e-commerce.

Casino, which has been selling assets to reduce its debt and which also controls Brazil’s Grupo Pao de Acucar, posted first-quarter sales of 8.294 billion euros ($8.97 billion).

On a same-store basis and excluding acquisitions, currency effects and revenue on fuel, sales rose by 6.4% compared to 1.6%growth in the fourth quarter of 2019.

$1 = 0.9247 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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