French retail group drives sales by aggressive pricing and store expansion
French retail group Casino announced a 2.4 per cent growth in fourth-quarter sales. The results were achieved through strategies of accelerated expansion and aggressive pricing in France, alongside its continuing overseas sales growth.

The company generated sales of Eu6.4 billion (£4.45 billion), Eu5.1 billion (£3.54 billion) of which came from the retailer's home market. Casino said that it was pleased with what it called a 'good performance' in its domestic market, where sales had struggled in the previous quarter. This was despite the fact that only the Monoprix convenience stores and discount chain Leader Price generated positive same-store sales growth.

Following its third-quarter sales slide, Casino spent the past three months prioritising its discount chains, Franprix and Leader Price, and repositioning itself to 'rank among the cheapest stores in France'. The company opened nearly 430,570 sq ft (40,000 sq m) of retail space during the period, giving it nearly 1.6 million sq ft (150,000 sq m) of discount sales space. Same-store sales growth at Franprix dropped 4.8 per cent compared with a 6.2 per cent drop for the third quarter. Casino attributed this, in part, to store openings. Leader Price improved sales by 1.4 per cent compared with the previous quarter.

'After a difficult third quarter, and despite significant price cuts, most of the group's formats achieved a noticeable improvement in same-store sales,' said the company in a statement.

The company generated a 9 per cent rise in organic sales in its international markets, following from an 8.8 per cent rise in the fourth quarter last year.