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Carrefour Reports Slowing Sales Growth

Olofsson, who took over from ousted CEO Jose Luis Duran at the start of the year, also warned that "the coming quarter will be tough," and said he doesn't expect to see any improvement from the fourth quarter.

The retailer's stock has fallen about 12% since its December profit warning when it cited "deteriorating global consumption trends, particularly in Europe."

The shares lost nearly half their value last year, slightly worse than the overall Paris blue chip index.

To respond to consumers who have been curbing spending as the French economy slows, the company has been cutting prices on select products in its home market, combined with promotional campaigns.

In August, Carrefour announced plans to cut costs by ¿100 million, which then-CEO Duran said wouldn't involve job cuts. On Thursday, Olofsson said he was reviewing these plans "with an aim of accelerating and reinforcing them."

French consumer confidence hovered near record lows in the last three months of the year, according to the national statistics bureau, as households remained pessimistic about the future financial situation and worries over future employment figures mounted.

France accounts for about 40% of Carrefour's sales. It operates a total of 5,517 stores here, including hypermarkets, supermarkets, hard discount stores and convenience shops.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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