* Keeps full-year profit growth targets
* Improvement at Geant hypermarkets division (Adds details from CFO call)
PARIS, July 13 (Reuters) - French retailer Casino kept its full-year profit growth goals as sales growth accelerated in the second quarter, reflecting an improvement at its domestic Geant hypermarkets and a resilient performance at its recession-hit Brazilian market.
Casino, whose credit rating was cut to junk by Standard & Poor's in March 2016 and which has been criticised by U.S. activist fund Muddy Waters, 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 9.277 billion euros ($10.6 billion), above the 9.173 billion euros average in a company-compiled consensus of analysts' forecasts.
Stripping out acquisitions, currency effects and revenue on fuel, sales rose 3.3 percent against 3.1 percent growth seen in the first quarter.
"This good performance strengthens our results goals for the year," Chief Financial Officer Antoine Giscard d'Estaing told journalists.
For 2017, Casino reiterated its prediction for growth of at least 10 percent in group operating profit at current exchange rates, having achieved a 3.7 percent rise in 2016. Casino also still aimed to grow operating profit at its food retail operations in France by 15 percent.
Casino has cut prices at home at its Geant hypermarkets and reduced retail space for non-food items in response to competition from online and smaller convenience stores, while it has also increased its focus on organic and fresh food products.
Same-store sales at the Geant Casino hypermarkets in France rose 0.4 percent in the quarter, driven by a 4 percent increase in food sales. This compared with a 1.9 percent sales decline in the first quarter of 2017.
Meanwhile the group's Monoprix, Franprix and Casino-branded stores also posted a robust performance.
In recession-hit Brazil, its second-biggest market by revenue, food retail sales rose 9.9 percent from 9.8 percent in the first quarter, despite slowing inflation.
The robust performance reflected the ongoing recovery of the Extra hypermarkets and strong growth at the Assai cash and carry stores in the quarter. Lower inflation can result in consumers delaying purchases in order to wait for even cheaper prices.
Last week, French rival Carrefour reported stronger-than-expected second-quarter sales and flagged a persistently challenging environment in France where price cuts helped its hypermarkets division return to growth.
However, UK peer Marks & Spencer reported a surprise dip in underlying food sales this week.
($1 = 0.8739 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)