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Retail

France's Groupe Casino Blames Price Cuts For First-Half Losses

By Reuters
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France's Groupe Casino Blames Price Cuts For First-Half Losses

Groupe Casino swung to a loss of €233 million for the first half of its financial year, as falling sales and price cuts at its hypermarkets and supermarkets dented its core French business.

Casino is in talks with Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky over a plan to inject €1.2 billion of new money into the distressed French retailer, and it is still discussing a plan with creditors to restructure its debt pile to avoid bankruptcy.

Daniel Kretinsky Plans

Kretinsky's rescue plan would bring an end to the 30-year reign of Casino CEO and controlling shareholder Jean-Charles Naouri at a time when France's traditional retail sector is adapting to the rise of e-commerce and hard-discount supermarket chains.

Finance chief David Lubek told journalists the goal remained to have a deal with creditors by the end of the day.

The French retailer's group operating loss came after a profit of €166 million in the first half of 2022, with its operations in France posting a loss of €299 million.

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Consolidated group net sales fell 1.2% like for like in the second quarter to €5.5 billion, with retail sales in France down 4.2%.

Sales By Format

Casino's Parisian and convenience stores grew, but hypermarket and supermarket sales fell 15.3% as the company said it had cut grocery prices by an average of 10% in the larger stores, compared to the first half of last year.

"We don't intend to go further," Lubek said when asked about possible further price cuts.

French retailers are in pricing discussions with consumer goods brands after the government last month ordered food manufacturers to lower their prices.

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"Our aim is, on products where there are reasons to say we are in disinflation, or even deflation, to secure (price) corrections in this direction just as we accepted them on the up," Lubek said.

Group net debt at Casino as of end June-2023 was €6.1 billion against €6.0 billion at end June-2022.

Read More: Lidl France Expresses Interest In Acquiring 600 Casino And Monoprix Stores: Reports

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