French retail giant Carrefour has posted a 17.9% rise in first-half core earnings, helped by gains on the domestic market.

The retailer reported first-half profit before exceptional items but after goodwill write-downs of €472m (US$512m), compared to €400m a year earlier. Operating profit was up 7.1% to €1.16bn.

Carrefour, the world’s second-largest retailer, posted a 1.3% rise in sales to €37.45bn, a rise of 6.3% at constant exchange rates. The company raised its full-year sales growth target to over 6%, compared to a previous target of above 5%.

Carrefour said the rise in sales was due to improved performance at deep discount and convenience stores in its home market of France, and a healthy contribution from its other European operations, particularly in Greece, Italy and Spain, reported Reuters.

The retailer said its operations in Latin America performed well in local currency terms, and that Asian operations were recovering from the impact of the SARS outbreak earlier in the year.