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.

Claire Wilson

About Claire Wilson

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