PARIS (FNS) -- Despite a lackluster economy in its home market and many of its foreign markets, Carrefour continues to grow and post improving financial results.
Last year, the Carrefour retail group saw net income from recurring operations climb 24.7% to $538 million (2.69 billion francs), compared with year-end 1994 figures. Sales, net of taxes, rose 6.1% to $28.9 billion (144.6 billion francs) last year. At constant exchange rates, sales would have risen by 8%, the company said.
With operations in 13 countries, Carrefour runs 252 hypermarkets, of which 135 are located outside France and 117 are located in France. A total of 24 hypermarkets opened in 1995, including the opening of two stores in China through joint ventures with local companies.
Some of 1995's key events took place in Latin America, where total sales between Brazil and Argentina were $4.96 billion (24.8 billion francs), representing 17.7% of total turnover. In Brazil, Carrefour continued its expansion program by opening five new stores, for a total of 38 hypermarkets, representing 11.7% of sales.
Strongest headway was made in Mexico where five new stores were inaugurated after the opening of the first two hypermarkets in 1994. Carrefour did not disclose Mexico's sales. The economic recession in Argentina made 1995 a difficult year. Net income from recurring operations declined by 12.2 % to $52 million (260 million francs) after growing 48.4% in 1994. Carrefour focused much of its attention toward Asia this past year, with the opening of 4 new hypermarkets -- two each in China and Taiwan. Taiwan sales, net of taxes, were up 13.6% to $720 million and accounted for 2.5% of total sales. At the end of last year, Carrefour opened its first two hypermarkets in Beijing and Shanghai, both of which have aquariums for live fish and parking lots for bikes. In Europe, Carrefour benefited from four new hypermarket openings under the Pryca name in Spain. Spanish sales, net of taxes, grew 4% to reach $42.8 million (21.4 billion francs) and net income from recurring operations rose 18.2% to $119.2 million (596 million francs). 1995 was a stable year for Turkey as inflation was brought down to 65%.
Carrefour plans to open a new hypermarket in Italy by 1996 and will continue to expand operations in Portugal. As for France, Carrefour's sales in 1995, net of taxes, rose 4.6% to $17.9 billion (89.677 francs).