The world’s second largest grocer, Carrefour, has reported higher results than expected for its first half with a 5.3% rise in net profit to E537m.

The group, which also posted an increase of 4.5% to E1.214bn for its operating profit, has also stated it is on track to open 1m sq m of new space in 2004, 80% of which will be outside France.

The company noted that its pricing position has never been stronger in France and as a result it is starting to win back market share in the food sector.

It also achieved strong organic sales and earnings growth in Europe excluding France, and overseas.

The group has not changed its forecasts for 2004, which puts sales at a 5% increase on the basis of constant exchange rates.