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France's Leclerc Invests To Counter Tough Times - Yahoo Finance

15 his group had achieved revenue growth of 2 percent year-on-year. He predicts revenue growth of 3 percent for the full year, which would be a slowdown from 4.9 percent in 2013 and lower than his expectations in February this year. Leclerc, one of the most vocal executives in the French retail sector, cited high unemployment and households' declining spending power as key reasons for his grim forecast. Food retailers across Europe such as Carrefour and Britain's market leader Tesco (TSCO.L) have struggled as shoppers' disposable income is squeezed by subdued wage growth and austerity measures. Most have responded with price cuts. Data from the INSEE statistics institute this week showed that with France's unemployment rate stuck at record highs above 10 percent and economic growth stalling, consumer confidence was unchanged in September from August. Data last month showed consumer spending in the euro zone's second-biggest economy stagnated in July and August. Leclerc, 62, heads a cooperative association of retailers which operates 642 stores in France, mostly hypermarkets, and 121 stores abroad, with 2013 group sales of 45.6 billion euros. A centralised buying strategy enables Leclerc to negotiate low prices from suppliers home by buying in bulk.

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