Big changes are on the cards at French retail giant Carrefour, which today posted a rise in sales and profits.

Carrefour, which has 12,500 shops in 30 countries, revealed a 0.7 per cent increase in net income to €1.87 billion (£1.43 billion) on sales ahead 6.8 per cent to €82.15 billion (£62.97 billion). The retailer said it was on the verge of a “breakthrough year” in 2008.

But the results were overshadowed by imminent change in the boardroom balance of power after members of the Halley family revealed they would end a shareholder pact between their holding companies, give up two of their three seats on the board and end double voting rights.

The decision opens the way for Blue Capital, the investment vehicle of LVMH boss Bernard Arnault and private equity firm Colony Capital, to exert greater influence. Blue Capital bought into Carrefour a year ago, after the Halleys – who control 13 per cent of the company – and then-Carrefour chairman Luc Vandevelde had a high-profile falling out.

Blue Capital controls 9.1 per cent of Carrefour and is the biggest single shareholder. The changes to the Halleys’ arrangements open the door to the investor increasing its stake. Blue Capital said it would now be able to “fully play its role”.