Carrefour, the world's second largest retailer yesterday (12 June) revealed that sales during the first half of 2006 had increased by 8.7%, or 7.3% excluding the effect of currency conversion. Total sales for the group's operations in Asia, Latin America, Europe and its home market France came to EUR41,779m (US$53,035m)

First half gains were driven by a strong second quarter performance, with total sales increasing by 9.1% to EUR21,378m.

Carrefour said that in the second quarter growth was boosted by the performance of its French supermarkets and hypermarkets, with like-for-like sales growth, excluding petrol, of 3.6% and 4.3% respectively. The retailer increased its market share in its core French market by 0.8% in the quarter.

These gains in France were supported by growth in Asia and Latin America, where sales on constant exchange rates increased by 13.7% and 15.4% respectively. Sales trends in Europe, excluding France, improved slightly in the quarter but were held back by the competitive nature of these markets.

The company said that good results were proof that its consumer strategy was paying dividends. During the period Carrefour said it focused on increasing the rate of new store openings, rolling out new innovations as part of a multi-format strategy, increasing its offer and developing new services, lowering prices and strengthening its in-store teams.