French retail Casino has reported a 17.5 per cent increase in net profits for 2002 to €445.2 million despite losses from its Dutch unit, Laurus. Consolidated turnover for the year was ahead 4 per cent to €22.8 billion, driven mainly by a strong performance in the home market.
Casino said that its strong food offering (85 per cent of sales), its variety of store formats (Leader Price discount stores and Monoprix city centre outlets as well as more traditional Casino supermarkets and Géant hypermarkets) had helped drive sales in France, which accounted for 77 per cent of turnover. Organic growth from the French business was 6 per cent.
International sales, which account for 23 per cent of the total, increased by 17.6 per cent at constant exchange rates, despite difficult economic conditions in some markets.
Operating profit for the year increased by 13.2 per cent to €966 million, with France accounting for €911.7 million of this, up 17.5 per cent. The strong rise in operating profit is due mainly to an excellent performance from the convenience store and Monoprix businesses (+24.6 per cent) and the Leader Price discount arm (+23.5 per cent). These two units now account for 70 per cent of group operating profit, Casino said.
International operating profits dropped 9.7 per cent to €54.3 million. The company said that Laurus was well on the way to recovery - despite losses of €128 million in 2002 - after the sale of its Belgian and Spanish units. Laurus is expected to contribute around €4.5 billion to Casino group sales in the long term, the company said.
For the coming year, the company will continue to focus on its most profitable units, notably the convenience and discount units, both at home and abroad. The company is predicting turnover growth of around 6 per cent for 2003, while operating profit and net profit should increase by roughly the same amount as in 2002.