UPDATE 1-Kesa says Darty France sales fall worsens
* Year profit seen at mid-point of range of market forecasts
* Q4 group like-for-like sales down 5.9 pct
* Q4 Darty France lfl sales down 10.0 pct
LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) - Kesa, Europe's No. 3 electricals retailer, posted a deteriorating sales fall at its market leading French business after consumers reined-in spending on discretionary items ahead of this month's presidential elections.
The firm said on Thursday sales at Darty France stores open over a year fell 10.0 percent in the Jan. 9 to April 30 period, its fiscal fourth quarter.
That compares with a fall of 4.7 percent in the 10 weeks to Jan. 8.
However, the firm said underlying profit for 2011/12 year was expected to be around the mid-point of the range of current market expectations.
Kesa said like-for-like sales rose 6.2 percent at its established businesses in the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Slovakia and rose 0.8 percent at its developing businesses in Spain, Italy and Turkey.
Total group sales were down 4.6 percent or 5.9 percent on a like-for-like basis.
Electrical specialists such as Kesa and Europe's No. 1 and 2, MediaMarkt Saturn and Dixons Retail, are battling cut price competition from supermarket chains and internet retailers at a time when European consumers are cutting spending in the face of rising prices, weak wages growth, rising unemployment, government austerity measures and fallout from the euro zone debt crisis.
Shares in Kesa, which sold the loss-making British business Comet to private investment firm OpCapita for a nominal 2 pounds in February, have lost 60 percent of their value over the last year.
The stock closed Wednesday at 56 pence, valuing the business at 297 million pounds ($473 million).
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