Carrefour, the world's second-largest retailer, has posted an 8.6% rise in half-year sales thanks to growth in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

The company booked revenue of EUR47.1bn (US$74bn) for the six months to the end of June after seeing second-quarter sales increase 6.7%.

On a like-for-like basis, sales were up 3.1%, with the opening of stores making up the rest of the sales growth on a consolidated basis.

"In a difficult trading environment, the group posted a solid overall performance in H1," Carrefour CEO Jose Luis Duran said.

In France, sales were up 1.7% on a like-for-like basis, thanks to rising supermarket sales, Carrefour said.

Sales in Europe, which accounts for over a third of Carrefour's turnover, were up 7.9% to EUR17.4bn.

That growth, however, was powered by expansion in Eastern Europe. Like-for-like sales in Europe inched up 1.6%, as falling sales in Belgium and flat sales in Italy during the second quarter weighed on results.
Carrefour saw sales in Spain, its biggest market outside France in terms of revenue, rise 8.2%. On a like-for-like basis, Carrefour said its Spanish business had seen "sustained growth", with sales up 3.4%.

In Asia, sales rose 5.2% on a like-for-like basis, despite slowing sales during the second quarter in China.

In Latin America, like-for-like sales jumped 14.2% as sales in Brazil and Argentina grew strongly.

Looking at Carrefour's "growth markets" of Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America, operations in those countries contributed 28% of sales during the second quarter of the year - up from 25% in the corresponding period a year ago.

In a sign of Carrefour's greater focus on these emerging markets, the retailer said it would free up some EUR200m of capital expenditure earmarked for expansion in "mature European markets" and divert that to opening stores in "growth markets".

The company, for example, plans to open 12 more Atacadao stores in Brazil in the coming months.