Carrefour has said that it expects first-half sales, excluding petrol and currency exchange, to be “slightly higher this year than in the same period last year”.

Unveiling the company’s turnaround plan to investors yesterday (30 June), Carrefour said that sales accelerated in the second quarter of the year, building on the slight increase seen in the first quarter.

“This performance reflects the group’s resilience in the face of the sharp economic downturn,” the company said.

In France, Carrefour achieved a “slight improvement” in sales and market share over the first five months rose for the first time in three years. According to TNS Worldpanel figures, Carrefour’s share of the French market was up 0.3%.

Second-quarter figures showed a decline in sales in Spain, where the company has cut prices by as much as 25% in order to drive volume gains.

Carrefour’s first-half net income is likely to be impacted by non-recurring items estimated at EUR550m before tax, the company revealed. These items include an EUR400m impairment charge in Italy.

The company said that it intended to cut costs and invest in pricing and own-label initiatives in western Europe in order to drive sales and profits.

“The cost of implementing our strategic decisions, combined with the very tough economic environment, will affect operating income in the short term. However, our resilient sales performance, along with encouraging market share gains in the first few months of 2009, comfort us in our determination to continue along the path we have set out,” CEO Lars Olofsson said.

“By innovating, transforming the group and strengthening our customer-oriented culture, Carrefour will become the preferred retailer and achieve sustained profitable growth.”