French retail giant Auchan has recorded a drop in full-year profit due to one-off items as well as unfavourable comparisons and warned 2013 will be another “difficult” year.

Earnings in the 12 months to the end of December dropped 19% to EUR656m (US$848m), Auchan reported today (19 March). Operating profit fell 14% to EUR1.24bn, impacted by non-recurrent items.

The retailer booked an exceptional capital gain of EUR386m in 2011 stemming from restructuring measures and a Chinese stock market listing, making for a tough comparison for 2012, it said. One-off items last year included a capital gain of EUR60m and a re-evaluation of group assets that cut EUR110m from the bottom line.

Revenues, however, were up 5.8% to EUR46.9bn owing to growing business in central and eastern Europe and Asia.

“Despite continued economic strife in Europe in 2012, the Auchan group succeeded in recording good revenue growth, notably underpinned by the supermarkets and the growth drivers provided by Russia, China and the Drive formats,” said chairman Vianney Mulliez, but added: “2013 is set to be another difficult year.”

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