Retailer Carrefour in profit fall as sales stall

Net profits at French supermarket group Carrefour, the world's second-biggest retailer by revenue, fell by 14% to 371m euros ($490m; £310m) last year.

Net sales were helped by growth in emerging markets, but overall still only rose by 1% to 81.3bn euros.

Carrefour said it was halting conversions of its new Carrefour Planet hypermarkets after 2012 because results so far were short of expectations.

The firm said in 2012 it would exercise "strict cost and cash discipline".

Carrefour has seen profit at its hypermarket business decline through lower prices and falling foot traffic.

A plan to give them a new look has not made enough of a difference, hence the halting of the hypermarket upgrades.

"In 2012, we will capitalise on our strengths while exercising strict cost and cash discipline to adjust to the environment in which we are operating,'' said chief executive Lars Olofsson.

Carrefour made an operating profit of 2.18bn euros in 2011.

More than 70% of the firm's sales are in Europe but this is its slowest growth area.

In contrast, business in Asia and Latin America is growing.

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