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Metro Christmas sales solid in Germany, down in Russia

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German retailer Metro reported flat sales in the important Christmas quarter, with growth at its wholesale stores in Germany offset by a decline in Russia, while business stabilised at its Real hypermarkets after a brand revamp.

[BERLIN] German retailer Metro reported flat sales in the important Christmas quarter, with growth at its wholesale stores in Germany offset by a decline in Russia, while business stabilised at its Real hypermarkets after a brand revamp.

Metro has forecast stronger profitability since it separated from consumer electronics chain Ceconomy last July. It reports full figures for the first quarter of its 2017/18 financial year on Feb. 13.

Chief Executive Olaf Koch said the figures were in line with its outlook for the 2017/18 year, which foresees sales growth of at least the 1.1 per cent achieved in 2016/17 and like-for-like sales to "slightly surpass" the 0.5 per cent growth of the previous year.

Metro, which runs wholesale stores in 35 countries as well as struggling Real hypermarkets in Germany, reported sales up 0.2 per cent to 10.1 billion euros (S$16.4 billion), just below a Thomson Reuters Eikon analyst consensus for 10.2 billion.

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Overall, like-for-like sales were up 0.8 per cent, despite a reduced number of trading days in the quarter.

The wholesale business in Germany saw a like-for-like rise of about 2 per cent, but a 9 per cent fall in Russia, while Real reported flat like-for-like sales after nine of its 281 stores were renovated with a bigger focus on fresh and organic food.

Metro's cash-and-carry business in Russia has traditionally been its biggest contributor to profits and it previously considered listing the business until the Ukraine crisis and sanctions on Moscow dampened the Russian economy.

The delivery business of the wholesale unit continued to grow, Metro said, as did Real ecommerce sales.

REUTERS

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