Casino has reported a 14.5% rise in group sales for Q4 2011, driven by its international operations in emerging markets, but low growth in its home market in France.
Domestic sales growth slowed to just 0.2%, compared to 1.2% growth in the previous quarter.
Simon Chinn, lead consultant at retail research agency Conlumino, said: “Casino only managed to post marginal growth in France for the crucial final quarter of 2011, indicating consumers cut back significantly in the final months of the year as the Euro Zone’s sovereign debt crisis and economic woes played heavily on the consumer mindset and made people shop more cautiously and cut back on non essential spend where they could.
“A 5.8% decline in non-food sales at its hypermarket chain Géant highlights the ongoing difficulties all major grocers face in order to improve the prospects for this outdated format. However, the continued rapid growth of its e-commerce business CDiscount (sales up 13.8% for the quarter) and a 2.8% rise in combined non-food sales from CDiscount and Géant helped ameliorate the poor performance to a degree.
“Casino has worked hard to integrate its e-commerce operation with its bricks and mortar stores, an area where it has arguably outperformed its competitors to date and a strategy that will pay dividends in the future as non food purchases are increasingly made online,” said Chinn.