Casino H1 profits rise on strong international performance

PARIS, France - French retailer Casino posted 880 million euros ($1.18 billion) in first-half operating profit on Tuesday, up 13.3 percent at constant scope and exchange rates thanks to a strong international performance and a recovery under way at its domestic Geant hypermarkets.

In France, trading profit was affected by price cuts, mainly at its Leader Price discount stores, but Casino, which makes 60 percent of sales in emerging markets and controls Brazil's top retailer, Grupo Pao de Acucar, put in a strong performance abroad with 21.6 percent profit growth.

Retailers across Europe such as Carrefour and Tesco have struggled as shoppers' disposable income is squeezed by subdued wage growth and austerity measures. Most have responded with price cuts.

Casino has ditched confusing promotions in favour of permanent price cuts at its French Geant hypermarkets. It has also started lowering prices at Leader Price.

These price cuts are starting to bear fruit and Casino reported a marked improvement at its French hypermarket stores in the second quarter.

Earlier this month, Casino finance head Antoine Giscard d'Estaing told analysts he was "comfortable" with market consensus of around 2.4 billion euros for full-year 2014 operating profit.

Such a target would imply a 1.7 percent rise from last year's operating profit of 2.36 billion euros.

1 US dollar = 0.7447 euro

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