Carrefour Reports Q3 2014 Results: Slowdown on All Fronts

Carrefour reported third quarter (Q3) 2014 gross sales for the 13 week period ending 30 September 2014. Results show a general slowdown in France and Western Europe as well as Asia, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe.

The group pursued its development plan, on multiple fronts, in a continued effort to reposition itself across all geographies. This includes:

  • Development of proximity
  • Reinvention of hypermarkets
  • Grow eCommerce

Carrefour continued to develop its small store network (supermarkets and convenience), either organically or through acquisitions. Following the acquisition of 800 Dia stores in France in June 2014 Carrefour also boosted its store numbers in Italy with the acquisition of over 53 Billa supermarkets from Rewe in July.

On the big-box front, Carrefour continued to reposition its stores by increasing their appeal through better pricing and new layouts. This was supplemented by additional consolidation of its shopping mall portfolio and a clearer strategy for Carmila, Carrefour’s property division.

eCommerce activities were more animated in all operating markets in an effort to entice shoppers with an omni-channel experience. The group also announced its intentions to re-launch eCommerce operations in Brazil.

Q3 2014 Milestones

Strategic

  • Exited India after all efforts to develop the business encountered constant roadblocks from local authorities.
  • Continued to consolidate its shopping mall portfolio in Western Europe, especially in France.
  • Reduced investment in Argentina and reduced capital in Poland.

Footprint

  • Acquired 53 Billa supermarkets in Northern Italy from Rewe.
  • Intensified hypermarket expansion in Romania for the next two years.
  • Launched the first ‘Supeco’ stores in Romania and Brazil where it also introduced the ‘Express’ format.
  • Marinopoulos failed to complete the deal to acquire Larissa in Greece

eCommerce

  • Set to re-launch online operations in Brazil.
  • Launched a free-delivery promotion for its online grocery store in Romania.
  • Promoted click and collect in Belgium during the summer season.

Brand

  • Trimmed its private label (PL) portfolio (discontinued ‘Carrefour Discount’, renamed ‘Origine et Qualite’, renewed Selection packaging).
  • Consolidated its marketing tools to offer shoppers an improved omni-channel experience in Europe.
  • Revamped fresh fruit and vegetables section in French hypermarkets and renewed client-facing staff uniforms in all stores.
  • Intensified hypermarket remodelling program in Belgium to improve shopper experience.
  • Introduced ‘under-30’ loyalty card in Spain thus further segmenting and targeting its shopper base.

Sales

Group

Group sales have decreased 0.1% year-on-year (y-o-y) to EUR 21.077 billion. Like-for-like (LFL) sales excluding petro and calendar effects have improved by 1.6% y-o-y sustained mainly by the progress Latin America. Results were negatively impacted by Asia where sales decreased 3.6% y-o-y to EUR EUR 1.760 billion (LFL sales down 6.6% y-o-y) and France where sales decreased 1.1% y-o-y to EUR 10.040 billion (LFL sales down 0.2% y-o-y).

 

Fig 1: LFL Sales excluding petrol and calendar effects

France

Sales in France were negatively impacted by a “sluggish” summer season combined with a decline in fresh produce prices. Nonetheless, the retailer reported increases in FMCG volumes and store traffic for a 6th consecutive quarter, thanks to a focused price repositioning strategy, combined with substantial investment in boosting the appeal of the stores.

France sales were down on all fronts quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q). On a y-o-y basis, all channels except Convenience have subsided due to sustained price cuts which have eroded top line sales. Hypermarket sales were down 1.6% y-o-y to EUR 5.409 billion with LFL sales down 0.7% y-o-y. Supermarket sales were down 2.4% y-o-y to EUR 3.340 billion with LFL sales down 1.2% y-o-y. Convenience sales increased 4.3% y-o-y to EUR 1.291 billion with LFL sales up 4.1% y-o-y.

 

Fig 2: LFL Sales excluding petrol and calendar effects.

Other European Markets

Sales in Other European Markets (Spain, Italy, Belgium, Poland, Romania) were negatively impacted by a slowdown, especially in Italy post World Cup. On the other hand Belgium managed to sustain positive like for like sales, while Eastern Europe markets maintained healthier growth, with a positive evolution in Romania and stable performance in Poland.

  

Fig 3: LFL Sales excluding petrol and calendar effects

Latin America

Latin America sales increased 6.9% y-o-y to EUR 3.966 billion with LFL sales up 13.7% y-o-y. Sales continued to bear the burden of unfavorable exchange rates which had a negative impact of 3.6% during the period. LFL sales in Brazil increased 7.7% y-o-y while in Argentina they increased 30.5% y-o-y.

  

Fig 4: LFL Sales excluding petrol and calendar effects

Asia

Sales in Asia were impacted by an overall decline in consumption in China

Asian sales have decreased 3.6% y-o-y to EUR 1.760 billion. LFL sales continued to decrease by 6.6% y-o-y, mainly impacted by China, down 8.2% LFL while Taiwan remained stable q-o-q at -1.6% LFL y-o-y.

 

Fig 5: LFL Sales excluding petrol and calendar effects

Outlook

Carrefour has not shared an updated outlook for 2014. Kantar Retail expect Carrefour to pursue its brand repositioning strategy throughout 2014 and continue to sustain efforts of improving footfall in all geographies and keep top line sales on the positive side.

Carrefour is currently facing an increasingly competitive landscape with increased pressure in its home market (which accounts for close to 50% of its global sales, excluding fully franchised operations – Turkey, Greece and the Middle East) and continuously unfavorable conditions internationally,with negative currency effects and declining consumption  trends.

In France, Lerclerc continues to relentlessly challenge its market share. On the international front Carrefour will continue to capitalize on the increased autonomy of its markets and support local initiatives. On the other hand the group will increasingly be challenged to back-up local efforts through better global sourcing agreements.

We are looking forward to seeing Carrefour’s final push for 2014 during the Christmas Season and anxious about the end of the third financial year under Plassat’s ruling.