CARREFOUR posted solid gains in 2013, as sales grew in Latin America and Asia, rebounded in Spain and France — two of its biggest markets — and a turnaround plan took firm hold in the fourth quarter of the year.

Europe’s largest retailer’s full-year sales were €84.3 billion, an increase of 2.5%.

During 2013 the company closed stores or transferred operations in faltering markets, with CEO Georges Plassat promising to refocus in areas where it could be a leader.

Spain’s fourth-quarter sales were up 1.7%, returning to positive territory for the first time since 2008 in large part because of a Christmas bonus for government workers that sent more people to the stores at the end of the year, said Pierre-Jean Sivignon, the company’s chief financial officer.

But Spain’s rise may not be sustainable after a two-year recession. The 26% unemployment rate is the second highest in the European Union after Greece, and the government has pushed through waves of unpopular tax increases since taking office in 2011.

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