January 18, 2018 / 8:07 AM / a year ago

Carrefour shares rise as robust Q4 sales offset new profit forecast cut

PARIS, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Carrefour shares rose on Thursday, with traders saying that stronger-than-expected fourth quarter sales from the French supermarket retailer had helped to offset the negative impact of a new profit forecast cut from Carrefour.

Carrefour shares were up 3.1 percent in early session trading, making the stock the top performer on France’s benchmark CAC-40 index.

Late on Wednesday, Carrefour cut its 2017 profit forecast for the second time in six months, as new boss Alexandre Bompard prepares to unveil a turnaround plan for Carrefour - the world’s second-largest retailer after Wal-Mart - next week.

Carrefour’s fourth quarter sales alone, however, reached 23.33 billion euros, just above analysts’ average forecast of 23.2 billion.

“Current trading was better than expected, albeit helped by promotional shifts in France,” JP Morgan analysts wrote in a note, keeping a “neutral” rating on Carrefour shares.

Deutsche Bank analysts also said Carrefour’s Q4 sales figures had beaten forecasts, although they kept a “sell” rating on Carrefour shares.

“We believe consensus estimates for 2018 and 2019 need to be cut significantly more, given Carrefour’s necessary investment to fix its French business and the tough competitive landscape in ‘Other Europe’ (other European markets outside France), which we expect the group to comment on next week, as the management unveils its strategic plan,” wrote Deutsche Bank in a note. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Dominique Vidalon)

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