Hyparlo weathers French retail storm

Related tags Cent Romania Carrefour

Sluggish market conditions in France were weathered well by
Hyparlo, the Carrefour franchise operator, in 2003. And a strong
progression in Romania, helped by store openings there, gave an
extra boost to results.

Sales in France, where the group operates 12 hypermarkets under the Carrefour banner, were ahead 2.3 per cent for the year at just over €1 billion, an excellent performance given the weak economic conditions in France and the fact that Carrefour itself only managed a 0.2 per cent increase in hypermarket sales during the year.

The relatively weak performance in France was due to poor clothing sales, with other non-food sales showing a slight improvement. Food sales were also marginally ahead of the year before.

Hyparlo said that it had managed to improve its performance in France despite the poor conditions on account of its continued efforts to maintain its prices at as low a level as possible - the same strategy which has seen a strong performance from discount stores in France over the last year.

In Romania, however, sales were ahead 29 per cent to €63 million, helped by the opening of a second hypermarket there, which boosted fourth quarter figures by 64 per cent. Sales at constant exchange rates would have been 34 per cent higher.

A third Romanian store will open in Bucharest in February, with a fourth, in Brasov, planned by the year end.

Excluding the impact of the sale of the company's Italian operations to Carrefour in 2002, group sales were up 3.6 per cent at €1.07 billion, although they dropped 6.7 per cent when taking into account the 2002 contribution of the Italian unit.

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