French retailer Groupe Casino has said that sales momentum gradually improved in the third quarter, as easing COVID-19 restrictions helped its performance in France, while sales growth in Brazil, the group's second-largest market, remained robust.
Casino, which has been selling assets to reduce its debt burden, confirmed it was pressing ahead with a disposal plan aimed at raising €4.5 billion, with €3.1 billion of deals signed or secured to date.
Sales at the group, which controls Brazil's Grupo Pao de Acucar, totalled €7.7 billion in the third quarter.
On a same-store basis and excluding fuel and calendar effects, group sales rose 1%. That compares to a 4.1% decline in the second quarter when its city stores in France suffered from a lack of tourists and coronavirus curfew measures.
In France alone, sales were down 4.3% in the quarter after falling 8.4% in the second quarter.
French Retail Performance
'In a declining food market shaped by the reopening of the out-of-home food industry, the impact of the health pass on hypermarkets, and a Paris region still feeling the effect of the drop in tourism, the various banners saw a gradual return to growth,' Casino said in a statement.
Its Monoprix banner was down 4.1% in the quarter, while Franprix fell by 3.6%. Its supermarkets business fell 2.7%, convenience stores dropped 1.3%, and its hypermarkets division dropped 8.5%.
It saw an 'acceleration' in food e-commerce, with home delivery sales up 72% in the Ile-de-France region, largely outperforming the broader home delivery (+29% in France) and food e-commerce (+7% in France) markets, the group said.
In terms of rising food prices, Casino said that it 'does not currently anticipate any material inflationary effect' for full-year 2021.