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Second-quarter profits at Metro, the world’s fourth-largest retailer by sales, beat estimates and the company confirmed its full-year guidance in spite of the difficult consumer environment in Europe.
Revenues rose 2 per cent to €15.8bn in the three months to the end of June compared with last year, helped by growth in eastern Europe and Asia. Earnings before interest and taxes before special items rose 3 per cent to €314m, beating a consensus forecast of €301m compiled by Bloomberg.
“We have picked up speed despite the headwind. Our focus on sustainable growth is paying off,” said Olaf Koch, chief executive.
The German cash-and-carry, department store and consumer electronics retail group said it planned to continue to focus on cost-cutting, sales incentives and new customer services that would help it reach its goal of about €2.4bn in full-year earnings before interest, taxation and special items – roughly the amount it achieved last year.
The group expects to save more than €120m at its headquarters.
It said: “The persistently difficult economic situation and the slowing price increases will most likely have a negative impact on sales in 2012. Conversely, all sales divisions are taking numerous measures to boost sales. We expect sales to rise in the full year, also on account of the positive development in the first half.”
Metro owns a large chain of cash-and-carry outlets, as well as the Kaufhof department stores, Real hypermarkets and the Media Saturn electronics chain.
Sales at Media Saturn rose 4.5 per cent in the second quarter helped by marketing linked to the Euro 2012 football championships.
Metro’s shares fell sharply last month, extending a decline of more than 20 per cent this year after Mr Koch warned that consumption in the eurozone’s biggest economy would increase only a little this year.
The group made a net loss of €110m in the first half of the year, after it incurred a €172m in impairment charges related to the sale of Makro UK, the wholesale business, and €68m in restructuring provisions.