French retail giant Casino this morning (4 March) reported a mixed performance for 2009, with overseas growth bolstering a business seeing challenges at home.

The company posted rising sales and earnings from its operations outside France, while its domestic business fared less well.

Casino booked a “robust” 6.7% rise in overseas revenues to EUR9.09bn (US$12.41bn) thanks to organic growth of 4.9% and to expansion in Brazil through its majority holding in Grupo Pao de Açucar. International profits were up 12% at EUR406m.

At home, sales fell 3.8% to EUR17.66bn, while trading profits slid 11.1% to EUR804m. Casino insisted its French trading margins “held up well” after a drop of 30 basis points.

Looking at Casino as a whole, turnover dipped 1.2% to EUR26.76bn, while trading profits slipped 4.5% to EUR1.21bn.

Net profit, however, was up 8.6% at EUR543m as Casino slashed its debts by almost EUR780m and the company benefited from the sale of its stake in Dutch retailer Super de Boer last year.

“In a difficult economic environment, Casino recorded solid results in 2009 while significantly improving its financial flexibility,” said chairman and CEO Jean-Charles Naouri.

Shares in Casino dipped 0.4% to EUR60.21 at 10:39 CET.