Casino cuts 2019 French profit goal as strikes weigh on fourth quarter

PARIS, Jan 16 (Reuters) - French retailer Casino, which is grappling with heavy debts, on Thursday cut its forecast for 2019 operating growth in France, citing the impact of French transport strikes on its fourth quarter.

Casino, which also controls Brazil’s Grupo Pao de Acucar , is selling assets to reduce its debt and kept its debt reduction goals unchanged.

Casino said it expected growth in 2019 trading profit from France, excluding real estate activities, to grow 5% instead of 10% it previously forecast.

Finance chief David Lubek told reporters the revision was due to French transport strikes.

Sales reached 9.228 billion euros in the fourth quarter, slightly below analyst estimates of around 9.7 billion euros.

On a same-store basis and excluding fuel and calendar effects, group sales rose 1.6% in the fourth quarter. In France sales were flat during the quarter.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle