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Sales at Carrefour, the world’s second largest retailer by revenue, climbed 6.2 per cent in its first quarter helped along by rising petrol prices and beneficial exchange rate movements.

The French retailer reported a 1.4 per cent rise in its total like-for-like sales, with international sales up 2.1 per cent and a 0.5 per cent climb in its home business in France. Overall group sales were up over 6 per cent to €21.3bn in the three months ending March, just above a €21.2bn average forecast compiled by Reuters.

Last year, Carrefour notched up its fifth consecutive rise in annual like-for-like sales and on Friday confirmed a target of 3-5 per cent full-year sales growth when measured constant exchange rates.

International sales, which climbed 10.9 per cent, were boosted by a strengthening in the Brazilian real which provided a near 4 per cent boost.

Carrefour’s Brazil business continued its robust growth, expanding 7.4 per cent in the quarter and helping to offset declines in its Asian market. The real is up nearly 5 per cent against the dollar this year, helping contain inflation in Latin America’s largest economy.

Asian sales meanwhile contracted 4 per cent, led by a 5.5 per cent decline in China. In Europe, like-for-like sales in Italy rose 1.6 per cent and 0.3 per cent in Spain, while Carrefour’s domestic French market – where it faces stiff price competition – grew 0.8 per cent.

Shares inched up just under 1 per cent at start of Thursday’s trading.

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