France's Carrefour said the second half of 2017 confirmed the improvement in Asia in profitability that began at the start of the year. Recurring operating income in 2017 in the region stood at 4 million euros (.87 million), compared with an operating loss of 58 million euros in 2016.
The improvement in performance was in part due to the company's action plans implemented in China, the world's second-largest economy and a market with rapidly changing consumption habits, according to a statement the company sent to the Global Times on Thursday.
The group's Chinese operations remained loss-making amid competition from local players and a strong online market, according to a Reuters report.
Starting from 2015, the retail giant's China unit embarked on a transformation plan to implement a so-called multi-format, multi-channel strategy.
The company focused on the development of hypermarket upgrading and the promotion of new concepts, boosting e-commerce development and other initiatives such as private labeling and digital marketing.
The company's e-commerce operations have now expanded into 18 Chinese cities, with improving functions such as cross-border e-commerce and e-wallet usage, which facilitates payment.
The company also started to cooperate with Chinese online-to-offline platforms including Meituan, Eleme, and Baidu from 2017 to send deliveries, the company said. Such cooperation is planned to cover all stores in China by the end of this month.
The company also opened 40 Easy Carrefour convenience stores in Shanghai as well as Wuxi, East China's Jiangsu Province and put into operation six distribution centers to slash costs.
In 2017, Carrefour Group recorded net sales of 78.8 billion euros, up 1.6 percent year-on-year.
On January 23, Carrefour Group announced its "Carrefour 2022" transformation plan, with an aim to become a world leader in the food transition.