July 26, 2018 / 4:11 PM / 10 months ago

Retailer Carrefour H1 operating profit rises though France lags

PARIS, July 26 (Reuters) - Carrefour posted a stronger-than-expected 5.8 percent rise in first-half operating profits, as robust international operations offset weakness in its core French market amid cut-throat competition among supermarket retailers.

The performance highlights some of the progress but also the challenges facing chief executive Alexandre Bompard, as he marks his first year at the job at the helm of Carrefour and aims to revive the fortunes of Europe’s largest retailer.

First-half recurring operating profit reached 597 million euros ($696 million), above the average 523 million forecast in a poll of analysts conducted by Inquiry Financial for Reuters.

In France however, where Bompard has made reviving flagging sales at hypermarket stores a priority, operating profit sank 44.8 percent to 110 million euros in the first-half.

Carrefour shares have slumped 36 percent since Bompard became CEO on July 18, 2017, as evidence of an improvement in the company’s performance - notably in France - remains elusive, according to analysts.

$1 = 0.8584 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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