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French supermarket chains get comfortable in Brazil

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French retail giants Carrefour SA and Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA have spent years battling for dominance on their home turf. Their new big battleground is almost 10,000 kilometres away.

Brazil has become a key factor in propping up Carrefour’s earnings in recent years amid disappointing growth in France. The grocer’s quarterly same-store revenue in Brazil has climbed between 5.6 per cent and 13 per cent since the third quarter of 2013, a stellar showing in a nation muddling through a two-year recession that’s the worst on record.

But as Carrefour’s local operations thrived, Casino’s growth lagged in recent years — until now.Casino’s unit in Brazil, known as GPA, reported an almost 6 per cent jump in same-store sales in the first quarter, matching Carrefour’s performance for the first time in more than two years.

With expectations gaining momentum that Brazil is ready to turn a corner and emerge from its slump, both Casino and Carrefour are positioning themselves for the next big boom.