CARREFOUR OPERATING NET RISES

PARIS -- Despite a lackluster economy in its home market, the Carrefour hypermarket group here keeps growing, thanks to its domestic and international strategies, according to Daniel Bernard, chairman.At the company's annual meeting here, Bernard said operating profit for the year ended Dec. 31 rose 29.5% to nearly $530.6 million (2.6 billion francs). Sales rose 9.5% to $27.8 billion. Conversions

PARIS -- Despite a lackluster economy in its home market, the Carrefour hypermarket group here keeps growing, thanks to its domestic and international strategies, according to Daniel Bernard, chairman.

At the company's annual meeting here, Bernard said operating profit for the year ended Dec. 31 rose 29.5% to nearly $530.6 million (2.6 billion francs). Sales rose 9.5% to $27.8 billion. Conversions were made at the rate of $1 equals 4.9 francs. Bernard focused on the importance of international expansion, which has brought Carrefour into sometimes risky but high growth rate markets, and vowed that the company was "far from finished" with the strategy.

At the end of the year, Carrefour had 222 hypermarkets worldwide. Of those, 108 were outside France. Non-French sales accounted for 37.1% of total revenues and helped compensate for sluggish French domestic market sales, which grew only 2.5%.

This year, the company is investing $1.6 billion in expansion. Sales are expected to rise 8% and operating profit should grow by 20%, the company said.