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Another profit warning from Carrefour

Another profit warning from Carrefour
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Carrefour has issued a warning on profits for the fourth time in a year and admitted it made a mistake in raising prices earlier this year, before some of its rivals did.

The world’s second largest retailer said in a second-quarter sales update that it expects operating profit in the first six months to fall 23 percent.

The French group has also given up on a plan to merge Carrefour’s Brazilian stores with a local retailer there at least for now.

The latest disappointment will heap fresh pressure on Chief Executive Lars Olofsson whose ambitious transformation plan, launched in June 2009, is making little headway.

The shares have fallen 44 percent since September last year, but the Swede appears to retain the support of key investor Blue Capital — an alliance of luxury tycoon Bernard Arnault and US group Colony Capital — as only last month Carrefour said it would make him chairman in addition to his CEO role.

The firm pledged to focus on keeping prices down, while reining in spending on promotions and loyalty schemes.

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