French retail group Auchan posted a 5.3% rise in annual sales helped by improved price positioning in all countries.

For the year to December 31 sales climbed to 27.6m euros from 26.2m euros last year while pre-tax profit jumped 7.6% to 909m euros.

Chairman Christophe Dubrulle said that 2002 was “a year of conclusive progress in implementing Auchan’s strategic plan with significant achievements in refocusing and consolidation”.

However, net income fell 11.6% in 2002 on the back of costs in closing its hypermarket business in the US, the sales of five hypermarkets in Mexico, and the restructuring of its e-commerce.

Over 90% of group sales were generated in Europe, including 63% in the retailer’s home market of France. Asian sales represented 4.4% while North and South America and Morocco accounted for 1.7%.