July 28, 2020 / 3:52 PM / 6 days ago

UPDATE 1-Carrefour Brasil sees e-commerce pick-up; shares jump after results

(Adds details of results, analysts' comments, context, byline)

By Gabriela Mello

SAO PAULO, July 28 (Reuters) - Carrefour Brasil SA's sales growth especially in e-commerce has picked up during the coronavirus pandemic, a trend likely to persist as the retailer prepares to launch a new digital platform this year, executives said on Tuesday.

The comments came after the company reported stronger-than-expected quarterly results that boosted its shares.

"With or without COVID-19, we will keep accelerating both food and non-food sales," Chief Executive Noel Prioux told analysts on a call. "Our e-commerce has already neared a breakeven level and the new platform should help us keep a relevant growth pace."

On Monday, the local subsidiary of France's Carrefour SA reported a 75% jump in quarterly net income to 713 million reais ($138.00 million), buoyed by rising sales and cost controls.

Shares of Carrefour Brasil rose 7% to 22.89 reais, marking the best performance among stocks listed in Brazil's benchmark index Ibovespa.

The "most pleasant surprise" of the "very strong" results was a 9% margin on adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), Credit Suisse analysts said in a report, citing increased efficiency and aggressive promotions.

"Carrefour Brasil's resilient portfolio should continue benefiting from the relatively strong demand while Covid-19 pandemic is still in place," Credit Suisse wrote.

Online food sales under the flagship Carrefour brand rose 377%, achieving three-year growth in just one quarter, Chief Financial Officer Sébastien Durchon said, noting that brick-and-mortar sales were not cannibalized.

Prioux said Carrefour Brasil expects to roll out a more agile e-commerce platform in the second half of 2020.

The company's wholesale unit Atacadao also launched its own marketplace to corporate customers and will soon expand online sales through the web-based app Cornershop beyond Sao Paulo, Atacadao CEO Roberto Müssnich added. ($1 = 5.1666 reais) (Reporting by Gabriela Mello Editing by Chris Reese and Richard Chang)

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