Excellent first half from Colruyt

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Belgian retail group Colruyt has posted impressive first half sales figures
despite ongoing troubles at some of its non-food units.

Turnover in the first six months of the year (from April to September) was 18 per cent higher at €1.8 billion, helped by the inclusion of six stores acquired​ from troubled Dutch retail group Laurus in September.

Excluding these outlets, which Colruyt is integrating into its Spar Belgium business, sales growth was 10.3 per cent.

Operating profit for the half was €119.33 million, an increase of 25.8 per cent on the previous year, while pre-tax profit was 23.9 per cent higher at €121.5 million. Net profit was 32.2 per cent ahead at €78.5 million.

Sales at Colruyt branded food stores were up 10.1 per cent in the first nine months of the year, including the core Christmas period, but the Dolmen IT business continued to struggle, posting a first half decline in sales of 26 per cent.

Turnover from the DreamLand business (which sells a diverse range of toys, baby products and school supplies) rose by 24.6 per cent in the half, while the France-based food distribution business Pro à Pro Distribution posted a 16 per cent gain in sales, helped by the acquisition of two Paris-based companies, Jean Didier and Harrydis, in February.

The company also operates under the Okat fascia in Belgium, and has recently begun rolling out a network of organic food supermarkets under the Bio Planet banner.

Colruyt is Belgium's third-largest food retailer and has reiterated its intention to grow its business through acquisition - a virtual necessity given the restrictions on new store construction in Belgium. France will also play a more important role in the future, with Colruyt looking to expand its Colruyt, Coccinelle and Codi Cash fascias there into a nationwide network, tapping into the trend towards small convenience stores and discount outlets.

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