July 17, 2018 / 5:37 AM / 3 months ago

Retailer Casino's Q2 sales accelerate, keeps goals

PARIS, July 17 (Reuters) - French supermarket retailer Casino said on Tuesday that sales growth accelerated in the second quarter, reflecting further improvement in its core French market and better trends in Brazil.

Casino, which last month said it aimed to complete 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion) of asset sales by early 2019 to help cut debts, said it was keeping all its annual financial objectives.

Casino, whose credit rating was cut to junk by Standard & Poor’s in March 2016, is under pressure to show it can revive profits in France while conditions in Brazil stay tough.

Casino, which controls Brazil’s top retailer Grupo Pao de Acucar, said second-quarter group sales reached 8.916 billion euros, above the 8.8 billion euros average in a company-compiled consensus of analysts’ forecasts.

Stripping out acquisitions, currency effects and revenue on fuel, sales rose 5.2 percent against 3.1 percent growth seen in the first quarter.

The stock is down by nearly 33 percent so far in 2018, partly on concerns over Casino’s balance sheet and parent group Rallye’s ability to refinance its debt.

$1 = 0.8538 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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