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Carrefour Sales Rise Below Expectations

Carrefour, the world's second largest retailer, reported a slightly below-forecast 5.8 percent rise in third-quarter sales on Tuesday, with revenue growth in the international business offsetting lower revenue in its French home market.

The group also stuck to its financial goals for 2007.

Carrefour said sales in the three months to Sept. 30 were 23.109 billion euros, which on a like-for-like basis was down 0.1 percent and slightly below the average forecast of 23.122 billion euros given in a Reuters poll of eight analysts. Sales rose 5.5 percent at constant exchange rates.

In France sales fell 2 percent to 10.404 bilion euros amid tough competition and signs that deflation was easing, the group said. The like-for-like decline was 2.4 percent.

Like-for-like hypermarket sales in France fell 1.5 percent in the quarter, a decline Carrefour blamed on "a strong negative calendar impact", a poor summer on clothing and other seasonal items, and its decision to stop selling gasoline at a loss on its franchises.

Carrefour reaffirmed it aims to grow 2007 sales at constant exchange rates by more than 2006's rate of 6.4 percent.