Carrefour reported net sales for 2008 rose by 5.9% to reach EUR87 billion (USD117 billion), up 6.4% at constant exchange rates. Net income from recurring operations grew by 32.8% to reach EUR1.26 billion (USD1.69 billion) for the year.
In France, sales grew by just 0.9% to reach EUR37 billion (USD50 billion). This slow growth was attributed to the fall in non-food sales, particularly discretionary products. However, Carrefour reported that its supermarkets and convenience divisions showed a strong performance for the year. Sales for the rest of Europe rose by 5.4% at constant exchange rates to reach EUR32.4 billion (USD43.5 billion) driven by sustained growth in Spain of 5.7%, Romania and Portugal. In Asia, sales were up by 10.9% despite a sharp slowdown in the Asian economies in late 2008 to reach just over EUR6 billion (USD8 billion). Latin America posted the strongest growth with sales rising by 31% to reach EUR10.5 billion (USD14.1 billion).
In 2009, the retailer will invest EUR600 million (USD806 million) to reinforce “sales dynamics” while making operating cost savings of EUR500 million (USD672 million), with the intention of investing these savings into growing sales. Furthermore, the retailer stated that it would exercise increased discipline and selectivity in investments, with capex capped at EUR2.5 billion (USD3.4 billion).
Lars Olofsson, the new CEO of Carrefour said: "Our objectives for the future are clear: generate profitable, sustainable, organic growth that outpaces that of the market, and improve our margins. To accelerate our growth, we will strengthen our positions in France and in Europe and focus our expansion on our growth markets with the highest potential. By increasing our knowledge of our customers and better serving them, by transforming ourselves to become more agile, improve execution and gain in operational efficiency and by regaining market leadership through innovation, we will achieve our ambition: make Carrefour the preferred retailer.”