French retail giant Carrefour has said that despite a very week economic environment, its third-quarter sales rose 5.1% excluding currency effects to €21.3bn (US$25.4bn).

Improving like-for-like sales in France, tactical acquisitions, and faster organic growth, all contributed to the rise in sales, the company said.

In France, sales increased 2.4% to €10.1bn. Sales outside France increased by 8.3%. Third-quarter like-for-like sales rose 1.2% overall, including a 1.9% rise in France.

In France, Carrefour said it continues to deliver food market share gains. In the quarter it gained 0.4% market share in hypermarkets and 0.3% share overall, according to Secodip.

The company said it will open around 1.4 million square metres of new space in 2005, through organic growth and through tactical acquisitions. In the third quarter, the company opened 524 new stores under banner, including 22 hypermarkets, 135 supermarkets, 169 hard discount stores and 195 convenience stores. Carrefour now has 11 833 stores in its portfolio.