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Metro reports sluggish sales during Christmas season

Published 15 January 2014

Germany-based retailer Metro AG - which is dealing with cash and carries, supermarkets and department stores - has reported sluggish sales in first fiscal quarter, hit by negative currency effects.

According to Metro AG, Europe's fourth-biggest retailer and consumer electronics chain, sales had fallen 3.3% to €18.7 bn in the three months through December.

Slowing from 1.8% in the previous quarter, the sales rose to 1.1% due to the stripping out of the impact of weaker currencies in eastern Europe and Asia, and the closure of supermarkets in eastern Europe and electronics stores in China.

Improvement at the cash and carry business, which accounts for almost half group turnover, contributed mostly to the like-for-like increase.

Sales fell at the Media-Saturn electronics stores and Real supermarkets due to tough competition from online and discounter rivals.

According to Metro AG's chief executive Ola Koch, the sales development was still in line with the company's guidance for "slight absolute sales growth" in its 2013/14 financial year.

Metro AG is trying to regain the sales growth by divesting non-core businesses, cutting prices at its cash and carries and revamping product ranges.

Metro AG runs over 2,200 outlets in 32 countries.