October 11, 2016 / 4:25 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil's GPA sales rise but e-commerce disappoints; shares slide

(Recasts, adding share performance and details of sales)

SAO PAULO, Oct 11 (Reuters) - GPA SA, Brazil’s biggest retailer, reported strong third-quarter sales in its cash-and-carry wholesale division on Tuesday, but a disappointing performance by its restructured e-commerce unit sent shares sliding.

The group’s net revenue rose 4.4 percent from a year earlier to 15.1 billion reais ($4.7 billion), driven by 45.7 percent growth for rapidly expanding wholesaler Assai, which offers rock-bottom prices for families pinched by a severe recession.

Still, a worse-than-expected 38.3 percent sales drop for troubled online retail subsidiary Cnova triggered concerns, including questions about continued fallout from inventory management issues.

GPA shares fell as much as 3.6 percent in early trading, the biggest drop on the benchmark Bovespa stock index.

“We think (Cnova) results are still affected by operating issues of the past that are being addressed by the new management team,” wrote UBS analysts led by Gustavo Piras Oliveira in a note to clients.

GPA’s controlling shareholder Casino Guichard Perrachon & Cie decided to restructure Cnova and delist it from the Nasdaq exchange after an investigation into inventory mismanagement triggered writedowns.

Aggressive discounts at Extra hypermarkets also helped to boost third-quarter sales volumes, GPA said, but net revenue in the food division rose just 1.1 percent, excluding Assai.

Sales in home appliance division Via Varejo SA were little changed from a year earlier, rising 0.4 percent despite an ongoing drop in the market for home appliances.

The group’s same-store net revenue, a gauge of recurring sales activity at stores open for at least a year, rose 1.9 percent.

$1 = 3.22 reais Reporting by Ana Mano; Additional reporting by Paula Laier and Silvio Cascione; Editing by Brad Haynes and Tom Brown

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