Shares in Carrefour rose this morning (7 March) after the French retail giant reported underlying annual profits that beat analyst forecasts, amid an improved performance at home.

Carrefour booked recurrent operating income of EUR2.14bn (US$2.79bn) for 2012, down 2.6% on 2011 but above analyst consensus of EUR2.07bn.

In France, which accounts for over 40% of Carrefour’s core profits, recurrent operating income was up 3.5% at EUR929m.

Further afield in Europe, Carrefour struggled, with its businesses in Spain and Italy affected by the macroeconomic problems in the two countries. Recurrent operating income from its European operations fell 20.6% in 2012.

Expansion costs and wage inflation in China hit Carrefour’s profits in Asia, which were down 10.3%.

However, profits in Latin America were up amid “solid” like-for-like sales in Brazil and Argentina.

Asset sales boosted Carrefour’s bottom line. In 2012, Carrefour sold operations in markets including Colombia and Indonesia. Its net income reached EUR1.23bn, compared to EUR371m a year earlier.

Carrefour reported its sales for 2012 in January. Higher sales in Latin America offset lower underlying sales in Asia, Europe and France.

Shares in Carrefour were up 2.74% at EUR21.97 at 10:27 CET this morning.

Click here for the full 2012 results release from Carrefour.

Click here for a look at what leading industry analysts said about the numbers.