France's Carrefour, the world's second-biggest retailer, confirmed on Thursday its 2011 profit forecast after reporting flat fourth quarter sales.
The company said fourth-quarter sales dipped 0.8 percent to 24.15 billion euros ($31.1 billion) but were up 0.5 percent overall in 2011 thanks to emerging markets.
Carrefour, which lowered its 2011 operating profit forecast three times, confirmed in a statement that it expected it to come in "at the lower end of the range of between -15 percent and -20 percent versus 2010" stripping out the contribution of the DIA hard discount chain which has been sold off.
The retailer posted a 2010 operating profit of 2.97 billion euros, with hard discount units including DIA contributing 232 million euros.
"Carrefour posted slight full-year sales growth in 2011, supported by emerging markets, in spite of the economic slowdown that further impacted discretionary spending in the fourth quarter," chief executive Lars Olofsson was quoted as saying in a statement.
Full year sales in France excluding petrol dropped by 1.2 percent at constant exchange rates, and were down by 4.0 percent in the rest of Europe.
They jumped 10.1 percent in Latin America to 17.1 billion euros to account for 18.7 percent of overall sales.
Sales in Asia rose by 5.1 percent to 8.2 billion euros, or 8.9 percent of the total.