French retailer Casino has posted a 3.3% drop in consolidated net sales, which fell to EUR6.6bn (US$8.58bn) in the first quarter, reflecting the unfavourable impact of currency exchange, fewer selling days than in the comparable year-ago period and petrol prices.

Excluding petrol sales and restated for the calendar effect, organic growth stood at 1.3%, which the company described as a “satisfactory performance” in the current business environment.

In France, organic sales declined by a 2.8% excluding petrol.

Franprix-Leader Price and the supermarket banners, Casino Supermarkets and Monoprix, posed sales excluding petrol virtually unchanged for the period.

Cdiscount enjoyed another quarter of “very strong growth” in France, with an 18.5% increase in sales.

However, the company continued to witness a sharp sales decline in its hypermarket format. Géant Casino maintained its carefully managed promotional strategy over the period, the company added.

International operations continued delivered “robust” organic growth, with sales up 4.5% excluding petrol. South American operations reported sustained 5.6% organic growth, while Asian organic growth remained totalled 7.5%, lifted by the company’s expansion strategy in Thailand and “very strong” same-store growth in Vietnam.

“Over the first quarter, Casino benefited from its well positioned business portfolio with a favourable mix of formats in France, a strong presence in the convenience and discount formats, a leadership in online non-food sales and an international presence focused on high potential countries,” the company said in a statement.