Sales at Auchans French stores came under pressure

Sales at Auchan's French stores came under pressure

Auchan, the French retail giant, has reported higher annual sales and earnings for 2013 but saw domestic sales fall.

In a mixed set of results, Auchan also said expansion helped its top line. Like-for-like sales, excluding fuel and at constant exchange rates, were down 0.5%.

The retailer booked net profit of EUR767m (US$1.06bn), up 19.3% on 2012. EBITDA grew 5% to reach EUR2.64bn.

The improved earnings came on the back of an increase in sales. Auchan said its consolidated revenue excluding taxes was up 3.4% at EUR48.08bn.

Excluding fuel and at constant exchange rates, pro-forma revenue including taxes rose by 4.2%, thanks to the company's expansion, Auchan said. However, on a like-for-like basis Auchan's revenue dipped 0.5%.

In France, Auchan's sales fell 1.1%, thanks to lower sales from the retailer's hypermarkets. Last month, Auchan said it would cut 300 jobs at its hypermarkets in France by 2017 as part of moves to shake up the way it staffs its stores.

Combined sales in Eastern Europe and Asia were up 11.1%, Auchan said, thanks in part to expansion. Earlier this month, Auchan's listed Chinese venture Sun Art Retail Group booked higher annual sales and profits for 2013.

Chairman Vianney Mulliez said: "It is worth noting that our revenue growth was fully driven by central and eastern Europe and Asia, whose weightings within the group increase each year."

He added: "In 2013, our winning growth strategy meant we could continue generating revenue growth at a time when the sales activities of our hypermarkets in France and for all our networks in Italy were at a standstill and fell short of our expectations.

"On the whole, Groupe Auchan improved the resilience of its business and sales models in 2013 and strengthened its growth potential for the future."

Click here for the full statement from Auchan.