* Casino reiterates its commitment to boost its profitability in France
* Fall in sales in France compared to the surge of a year ago
* Latin America sales climb 4% in quarter (adds CFO call details with analysts)
PARIS, May 6 (Reuters) – French retailer Casino announced Thursday that it is considering a stock market listing among options for its renewable energy subsidiary GreenYellow as it seeks to reduce its debt.
Revenue growth slowed sharply in the first quarter, with same-store sales falling 6.4% in the French Casino market, compared to a year ago when sales surged in the first wave of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Casino reiterated its commitment to boost its profitability and cash flow this year in France, which showed better profitability in the first quarter thanks to cost savings.
To increase profitability, Casino is banking on the monetization of customer data, saving money through purchasing and placing more emphasis on e-commerce, organic food, convenience stores and energy services.
Casino, which is selling assets to reduce its debt, said last month it had launched preparatory work for possible capital increases for its e-commerce subsidiaries Cdiscount and GreenYellow in renewable energy.
“A list is one of the options for GreenYellow,” CFO David Lubek told reporters.
Casino, which controls Brazil’s Grupo Pao de Acucar, reported first-quarter sales of 7.146 billion euros ($ 8.61 billion).
On a same-store basis and excluding acquisitions, currency effects and fuel revenues, sales increased 0.1% compared to 8.1% in the fourth quarter of 2020.
In France alone, sales of the Monoprix and Franprix stores, located in the city center, were down over the quarter by 3.2% and 9.1% respectively.
Casino said there were fewer tourists in Paris and more Parisians who left for other regions due to coronavirus restrictions in the capital and surrounding areas.
Geant Casino hypermarket sales were down 9.7% year on year, reflecting the impact of curfew measures and lower traffic due to the mall’s closure due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The food e-commerce activity remained strong, with a 38% jump in sales during the quarter.