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    Carrefour's 2002 Earnings Up on Tighter Cost Controls

    PARIS - Carrefour SA, the world's second largest supermarket chain behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc., on Wednesday reported an 8.6 percent rise in 2002 net profit as tight cost control helped offset a slide in revenue.

    PARIS - Carrefour SA, the world's second largest supermarket chain behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc., on Wednesday reported an 8.6 percent rise in 2002 net profit as tight cost control helped offset a slide in revenue.

    The Paris-based company also said it will accelerate store openings in 2003 to realize 5 percent revenue growth and double-digit percentage growth in earnings per share, The Associated Press reports.

    Carrefour's net profit was 1.37 billion euros (US$1.49 billion) in the year ended Dec. 31, compared with 1.27 billion euros in 2001.

    The retailer said it trimmed general costs to 16.6 percent of revenue last year, from 16.9 percent in 2001, and managed to reduce financial charges by 18.5 percent.

    Carrefour said it plans to open 830 new outlets during 2003, compared with the 41 opened last year.

    The company took a hit in Latin America, where the devaluation of the peso in Argentina and the real in Brazil knocked profit. The contribution of Latin America to the company's operating profit plummeted 56 percent to 23 million euros (US$25 million).

    Carrefour said Wednesday it isn't interested in buying troubled rival Royal Ahold NV but added it might consider acquiring some businesses from the Dutch supermarket chain.

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