New Hyparlo focus pays off

Related tags Hypermarket

Hyparlo, the French retail group which operates a number of
franchised Carrefour outlets, reaped the benefits of a new focus on
just two markets last year - and benefited from the extraordinary
gain from the sale of its Italian business.

The company sold its Italian hypermarkets to Carrefour at the start of 2003 in order to focus on France and Romania, and netted a €17.5 million gain as a result. As a result, net profits should be more than double the previous year at over €30 million.

The decision to concentrate on just two markets also allowed the company to accelerate its rate of growth in both countries. In France, Hyparlo continued to roll out its discount policy in a bid to increase its market share, while in Romania the group opened its second hypermarket during the year and began work on a third.

The increased profits also allowed Hyparlo to eliminate its debts during the year.

Definitive full-year figures will not be published until next month, but with sales estimated to have grown by 3.6 per cent in 2003 on a like-for-like basis, the company said it expected to see a slight improvement in operating profits, despite the economic slowdown in France.

As for net profits, excluding the one-off gain, Hyparlo said it expected the figure to reach around €14 million, up from €9.3 million in 2002 and €4.1 million in 2001, an increase of around 15 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

Hyparlo operates 12 Carrefour hypermarkets in France and two in Romania, with two more are under construction in Bucharest and Brasov.

More interest in Spar

Meanwhile, another French retail group, ITM, has received a new approach for its troubled Spar convenience store business, at least according to the German press.

ITM, which is best known for its Intermarché fascia, has struggled to turn around the Spar business, with only the Netto discount unit making any money in recent years, prompting rumours of a possible sale of the unit.

The latest name linked to Spar is Edeka, the German supermarket group, although neither ITM nor Edeka have confirmed the interest. In any case, ITM will continue to restructure the Spar business, closing around 150 outlets this year on top of the 180 or so which closed last year with the aim of reducing losses in 2004 to 'just' €40 million.

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