French supermarket group Auchan reported Monday significantly lower first half 2015 profits due to heavy exceptional charges and continued sluggish activity in France.
Auchan said profits in the first half of 2015 dropped to 31 million euros ($34.8 million) compared to 221 million euros during the same period last year.
The company said profits for the first six months were reduced by exceptional costs of 50 million euros -- which included restructuring in Italy -- while the first half of 2014 had benefitted from one-off income of 150 million euros.
"Without these exceptional elements, our net profit would have progressed by more than three percent," noted Auchan financial director Xavier de Mezerac.
Income from continuing operations declined 53.3 percent to 157 million euros, and operating income of 326 million euros was 31.9 percent lower than during the first half last year.
By contrast, operating profit as measured by earnings before interest, tax and amortisation increased 17 percent to 376 million euros due in large part to improved margins in Asia.
Excluding gasoline, Auchan said global sales grew by 2.6 percent, fuelled by business generated through expansion.
The group's principal home market of France, however, continued to drag as lower household spending eroded Auchan's sales by 2.9 percent.