French retailer Carrefour has recorded a 5.8% rise in sales for 2010, in what it described as a “challenging and competitive consumer environment”, thanks to growth in Latin America and Asia.

Full-year sales for the world’s second-largest retailer reached EUR101bn (US$135.13bn), with operating profit expected to be up 9.4% to EUR2.96bn.

However, for the full year, like-for-like sales, excluding petrol, were down 0.1%.

The company said that a slowdown in fourth-quarter sales in its French division impacted full-year like-for-like sales.

The retailer said like-for-like sales in its troubled French hypermarkets were down 2.5% during the fourth quarter, with non-food sales falling 7.3%. However, Carrefour said that traffic trends are improving sequentially, with like-for-likes down by 1.1% in the fourth quarter against a 1.2% drop in Q3, a 2.7% fall in the second quarter and a 4.6% decline in the first quarter.

Sales in France were up 1.5% for the full year to EUR41.9bn, while like-for-like sales were up 1.4%.

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The retailer also confirmed the final one off charge of EUR550m due to accounting issues in its Brazil operations and that it plans to launch “appropriate legal proceedings”.

Carrefour was boosted by solid growth in Latin America and Asia, with sales up 31% in Latin America and up 30.7% in Asia. Brazil and China were highlighted as strong performances, with sales up 13.7% in Brazil at constant exchange rates during the fourth quarter, while sales were up 12.5% in China over the quarter.

CEO Lars Olofsson said: “2010 was a year of contrasts for Carrefour: heavy one-off charges weighed on our results, but we also saw several very satisfying achievements. Our Transformation Plan is on track and keeps on delivering strong results: improved price image and market share gains in France, very promising results of Carrefour Planet pilot stores and significant cost reductions exceeding EUR500 million.

Click here for the retailer’s full earnings statement.