(Adds details from statement)
PARIS, April 11 (Reuters) - Carrefour said sales growth slowed in the first quarter amid continued weakness in its core French market, in a reminding investors that the road to recovery for the supermarket retailer would be long.
Carrefour, which is Europe's largest retailer, reiterated a cautious forecast that 2018 group results would be closely linked to fluctuations in currency exchange rates while it would still see higher rates of depreciation given past investment levels.
The group said sales at its French hypermarkets turned negative again amid bad weather conditions, further stiff competition from traditional and online rivals, and strikes during the Easter holiday while sharp food deflation slowed sales growth in Brazil.
First quarter sales reached 20.776 billion euros ($25.73 billion), slightly below the median analysts' estimates for sales of 20.869 billion euros in a poll for Reuters compiled by Inquiry Financial.
Growth slowed to 0.4 percent on a like-for-like basis excluding fuel and calendar effects, from 1.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Carrefour unveiled in January plans to cut costs and jobs, boost E-commerce investment and seek a partnership in China with Tencent in a bid to boost profits and revenues and help it tackle competition from Amazon.
Carrefour's lacklustre performance comes as British counterpart Tesco, which faced some of the same problems a few years ago, is reaping the fruits of its own revamp, with a 28 percent jump in full year profit.
Improving the French hypermarket business is a priority for new Carrefour boss Alexandre Bompard who joined in July.
The goal has eluded several predecessors amid online competition from the likes of Amazon and price discounting from rivals like unlisted Leclerc, which has overtaken Carrefour as the top food retailer by market share.
In France, where Carrefour makes 47 percent of its sales, like-for-like revenue declined 0.1 percent following 1.5 percent growth in the fourth quarter 2017.
French hypermarket sales fell 2.3 percent following 0.7 percent growth in the fourth quarter 2017. Supermarkets and convenience stores however put in a robust performance.
In Brazil, Carrefour's second-largest market after France, sales growth was slowed by food deflation. Carrefour listed its Brazil business in July 2017.
In China, where the group faces fierce competition from local players and a buoyant online market, sales fell 6.6 percent like for like in the quarter.
($1 = 0.8074 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Leigh Thomas)