French supermarket operator Auchan has reported “satisfactory” results for 2003, which it said had been a year of consolidation.

Operating income was €1.13bn (US$1.36bn) for the year to 31 December 2003, up 6.6% from the previous year.

Consolidated sales, net of value-added taxes, amounted to €28.7bn, up 4.2% from 2002. The group’s hypermarkets division had sales of €22.5bn, up 3.4 %. This increase was due to good growth in sales in the stores located in Europe (Italy, Spain, and France) and Asia (China). Hypermarkets activity in 2003 accounted for 78.3% of the group’s sales.

Sales at the group’s supermarkets division were €5.5bn, up 6.2% from the previous year, and contributed 19% of the group’s sales. By geographical area, Europe accounted for 95.1% of sales, while France accounted for 62.4% of the group’s sales.

The group opened 13 hypermarkets, 27 supermarkets and around fifteen shopping centres during the year. The worldwide number of hypermarkets, supermarkets and shopping centres operated by the group now stands at 321, 618 and 269 respectively.

“2003 was a year of consolidation: we brought Auchan’s vision up to date, continued to pursue our strategic priorities, maintained our progress through improving our fundamentals and began restructuring around our four distinct but complementary businesses,” said chairman Christophe Dubrulle.