PARIS — French retailer Carrefour SA eked out some modest sales growth last year, thanks largely to success in Latin America and in convenience stores back home.
However, Europe's economic troubles continued to weigh on the continent's biggest retailer by sales, and its core French hypermarket business continued to sag.
But Chief Financial Officer Pierre-Jean Sivignon said Thursday that prospects for the coming year are "encouraging" after a difficult few years.
Carrefour stocks rose on the news.
A more detailed look at the statement shows that the group saw sales in the final quarter of the year rise 0.8 percent to (EURO)22.9 billion ($30.4 billion). For the year as a whole, sales were up 1 percent at (EURO)86.6 billion.
The figures were adjusted compared to 2011, when it saw (EURO)91 billion in sales for the year, because Carrefour discontinued activities in Greece, Colombia, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia in 2012.
Sales in Europe were down throughout 2012, with especially large drops in Spain and Italy. Sales in Latin America were up 4.8 percent for the fourth quarter and year as a whole.
Overall sales in France outperformed most of Europe, rising 0.6 percent to (EURO)10.5 billion, after shrinking the year before. French sales were boosted by smaller convenience stores while sales fell in its trademark hypermarkets that sell everything from fresh oysters to bicycles under one roof.