French supermarket retailer Casino has reported a rise in 2002 sales that is below forecasts.

Casino said its full-year turnover increased by 3.9%, or 8.9% on a constant currency basis, to €22.84bn (US$24.44bn). Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast full-year sales of €22.93bn.

“Overall it was disappointing,” SSSB’s London-based retail analyst David McCarthy was quoted as saying by Reuters.

“The fourth quarter in France looked a bit weak and there was some disappointment in overseas markets like Poland, where business has been tough, and in Thailand where it faces strong competition and was hurt by flooding.”

Casino said that foreign exchange effects accounted for a 5% hit to its full-year sales growth.

Full-year turnover in France rose 6% compared with 5.1% growth in 2001.

Casino’s fourth-quarter turnover rose 1.3%, or 8% on a constant currency basis, to €6.25bn, compared to forecasts of €6.34bn.