(Adds financial details, company background, share performance)
By Gabriela Mello
SAO PAULO, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Carrefour Brasil said on Monday total gross sales grew 8.9% in the third quarter compared with a year ago, underpinned by an ongoing expansion of its wholesale unit and growing efforts to integrate online and brick-and-mortar stores.
Excluding gasoline, total gross sales hit 14.44 billion reais ($3.50 billion) in the quarter, the local subsidiary of France's Carrefour SA said in a securities filing. Same-store sales in the quarter rose by 3.8%.
In its wholesale unit Atacadão, which gained relevance amid Brazil's sluggish economic recovery, quarterly gross sales grew by 9% to 10.3 billion reais, as the company pushes forward an ambitious expansion plan of 20 new stores per year. On a like-for-like basis, Atacadão posted a rise of only 1.8% in gross sales.
The division known as Carrefour Varejo, which operates supermarkets, hypermarkets, convenience stores and e-commerce, gross sales excluding gasoline climbed 8.9% in the quarter ended on Sept. 30 to 4.125 billion reais. Same-store sales in this segment increased 8.8% year-on-year.
In online sales, Carrefour Brasil reported a 44.2% rise led mostly by its third-party vendors, which represented around 23% of total e-commerce sales compared with a 16.1% share a year ago.
Carrefour Brasil's shares have risen more than 11% so far in 2019, outpacing rival chain Grupo Pão de Açúcar SA, which have climbed less than 6% in the same period.
On Oct. 16, GPA reported a 9.5% rise in third-quarter total gross sales to 14.57 billion reais, as double-digit growth in wholesale unit Assai compensated for flat performance in its other segments. ($1 = 4.1291 reais) (Reporting by Gabriela Mello in Sao Paulo Editing by Chris Reese and Matthew Lewis)