[BERLIN] Metro AG, Europe's fourth biggest retailer, reported sales fell less than expected in the last three months of 2014 as a recovery at its wholesale and consumer electronics units gained pace, making up for weakness at its department stores.
Metro said sales in the first quarter of its 2014/15 financial year fell 2.2 per cent to 18.3 billion euros (US$21.65 billion), beating average analyst forecast for a 2.8 per cent fall to 18.2 billion euros.
Metro's consumer electronics business Media-Saturn, which had been losing sales to e-commerce players, reported a particularly strong quarter, with same-store sales up 3.8 per cent and online sales rising over 25 per cent.
The cash-and-carry business, which accounts for almost half of sales, saw like-for-like sales growth of 1.4 per cent, with a double-digit rise in Russia although that was wiped out when converted into euros due to the slumping rouble.
Metro chief executive Olaf Koch said the group had created a"solid basis" for achieving its full-year outlook for a "slight"rise in sales despite "the persistently challenging economic environment".