Carrefour, Europe's largest retailer, delivered its strongest underlying sales growth for at least two decades in the third quarter, reflecting a better performance in its key markets of France, Spain and Brazil.
The French company also said it was 'on track' with a strategic overhaul aimed at boosting earnings and sales, and that it was sticking with all the targets under the plan.
"Carrefour's sales in the third quarter reflect the excellent momentum underway in the group, confirming the success of the Carrefour 2022 transformation plan," chairman and CEO Alexandre Bompard said in a statement.
Carrefour is in the midst of a five-year plan launched in 2018 to cut costs and boost e-commerce investment to improve profits and sales, as it seeks - like peers - to tackle competition from online rivals such as Amazon.
It is also expanding into convenience stores to reduce its reliance on hypermarkets, focusing more on organic products and private labels.
Third-quarter group sales came to €19.69 billion/
Growth reached 8.4% on a like-for-like basis - excluding fuel and calendar effects - against 6.3% in the second quarter. That was Carrefour's best quarterly performance in at least 20 years.
It reflected in particular a stronger performance in France where Bompard has made reviving flagging sales at hypermarkets a priority.
Overall, Carrefour continued to benefit from strong demand for food during the pandemic and price cuts in France.
During the government-imposed lockdowns, customers have favoured supermarkets close to home and convenience stores as well as e-commerce.
But since France ended its lockdown in mid-May, hypermarket sales have shown a marked improvement and this accelerated in the third quarter.
Sales at Carrefour's French hypermarkets rose 2.5% in the quarter after a 3.6% decline in the second quarter.
In Brazil, Carrefour's second-largest market after France, sales growth reached 26% from 14.9% in the second quarter, driven by Atacadao cash and carry stores and hypermarkets.