Sales were up 48% year-on-year to $2.19bn and like-for-likes were up 21%. "X5's operational performance and increased cash flow in the second half of 2008 gives us an opportunity to reduce short-term debt by the end of the year," said chief financial officer Evgeny Kornilov. "Our liquidity position is healthy, supported by prudent financial management and a more conservative capital expenditure programme, as well as secured credit lines and strong cash generation, which should enable us to further reduce leverage in 2009," he said.
FRANCE: Carrefour has denied that it has put its plans for Indian expansion on hold, following reports of senior management admitting the proposals had stalled. A spokeswoman insisted the plans are going ahead and that Carrefour is in talks with potential partners for a joint-venture cash & carry business. In April, former CEO José Luis Duran confirmed he was in talks with three companies.
USA: Two men who were hurt in last week's stampede at a Wal-Mart store in New York are planning to sue the police for failing to prevent the crowd surge in which a worker died. The notice of claim against Nassau County police force alleges officers didn't attempt to calm the 2,000 strong crowd that stampeded through the store doors at 5am last Friday. The men who are bringing the action, Fritz and Jonathan Mesadieu, claim they were left with back and neck injuries. According to reports, the men are seeking $2m after accusing officers of standing by their cars drinking coffee while the crowd became "more and more unruly".
USA: Pilgrim's Pride, the largest US chicken company, has filed for voluntary bankruptcy protection after losing the battle against high feed costs and low meat prices. A gamble it took earlier this year by buying grain for feed in advance failed when commodity prices fell almost immediately afterwards. The company said it lost $96.9m in the third quarter of the year, but plans to continue operating normally while it decides how to go forward with the business. There are no immediate plans to close plants or make staff redundant.
SOUTH AFRICA: Pick n Pay has opened its first c-store in Johannesburg on a BP forecourt. The retailer, which up until now has operated only superstores, said it planned a rapid rollout of c-stores in the next three years. "The convenience store sector in South Africa is growing by approximately 14% annually, making it the fastest growth segment in the market," said chief executive Nick Badminton.