French retail giant Carrefour has seen third-quarter sales rise by 7%, driven by demand in the emerging markets of South America, Eastern Europe and Asia and an improved performance in the company's home market.

Sales totalled EUR24.7bn (US$31.8bn), up from EUR23.1bn last year.

Sales at Carrefour's Latin American operations booked the biggest gains, increasing 23% to EUR3.2bn. The company said that its business in Brazil felt the positive impact of the US$1.09bn purchase of Atacadao's 34 discount outlets last year.

In eastern and central European markets, sales jumped 13% with increasing consumer spending in Poland and Romania providing these businesses with a boost. Carrefour is expanding into the Russian market at the beginning of next year, when it will open its first store. The company said it will invest US$100m to drive growth in the country's burgeoning retail sector.

Following the acquisition of a controlling stake in Indonesia's PT Alfa Retailindo this January, Carrefour said its Asian sales were up 10% year-on-year, increasing to EUR1.7bn.

In France, Carrefour was able to stem the decline of its hypermarket business, in spite of tough trading conditions and a reduction in consumer spending. Discounting initiatives meant that hypermarket sales excluding fuel decreased by only 0.4%, compared to last year's drop of 3.4%.

French supermarket sales gained 1.7%, benefiting from the rebranding of the Champion stores, which will now trade under the Carrefour banner. Converted stores are delivering "double digit" growth, the company indicated.

Meanwhile, European sales outside of France gained 5.8% to EUR9.06bn.

Commenting on the results, CEO José Luis Durán said: "Carrefour delivered a very satisfactory third-quarter performance in a challenging environment.

"Hypermarket sales in France have begun to improve, our growth markets are continuing to play a driving role and our multi-format single-banner strategy is producing visible results. This demonstrates that our action plan is paying off, we will not slacken our efforts to stand by our customers. Our Q3 numbers put us on track to attain our 2008 objectives."