Metro Group has reported EBIT (before special items) of €14m, compared to €-8m in Q1 2012, due to earnings improvements at Real, Media-Saturn and other areas of the business.
Group sales down slightly
Group sales for the period January to March were €15.5bn, a slight decrease of 0.9% vs. the previous year. This year included three fewer trading days, and the unseasonably cold weather affected sales of clothing in particular. Cash & Carry sales were up 15.9% and the online business grew dramatically with sales up 60.6% at Media-Saturn. Internationally, sales were down 2.2% and the international share of total sales has also fallen, from 61.4% to 60.6%.
CEO says changes are having an effect
Group sales in Germany were up 1%, to €6.1bn, with Real, Media-Saturn and Galeria Kaufhof reporting like-for-like growth. At Real, LFL growth was 1.5%, with "a gratifyingly positive Easter business development" compensating for the missing trading days. Commenting on the results, group CEO Olaf Koch said: "In many countries, our customers' purchasing power has been affected by the economic downturn and the related government austerity measures. However, we managed to improve our earnings and maintain our sales at a stable level year-on-year. This shows that the changes we initiated on a broad front are gaining further traction. This is particularly apparent when looking at the development in our home market Germany where we again saw a rise in like-for-like sales."
Outlook is for moderate growth
For the short financial year of 1 January to 30 September 2013, Metro Group expects to generate "moderate growth in sales" despite continuing difficult business conditions. Efficiencies and strict cost management will be key. Operating earnings are expected to fall short of 2012 levels, due to the absence of major sporting events.
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