Carrefour H1 profits up as Brazil, Europe improve

PARIS, July 31 Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:44am EDT

PARIS, July 31 (Reuters) - Carrefour, the world's second-largest retailer, reported a 13.8 percent rise in first-half recurring operating profit to 833 million euros ($1.12 billion), driven by higher profitability in its core French business and in Brazil and Argentina, while China stayed under pressure.

Chief Financial Officer Pierre-Jean Sivignon said earlier in July that the analysts' consensus forecast for an operating profit of about 2.38 billion euros this year was "reasonable". That would be a 6.3 percent rise on 2013.

The French group said first half adjusted net income rose 16.7 pct at current foreign exchange rates to 274 million euros.

Carrefour is battling to reverse years of underperformance in Europe, where it makes 73 percent of its sales. Its problems are partly due to a reliance on the hypermarket format it pioneered, as customers favour more local and online shopping.

In response, Chief Executive Georges Plassat has lowered costs, revamped stores, cut prices, simplified product offerings and given more autonomy to store managers, starting in France.

(1 US dollar = 0.7465 euro) (Reporting by Andrew Callus; editing by Mark John)

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