Retailer Metro says business is picking up

30th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

Germany's Metro, the third largest global retail chain, said Friday that its first quarter sales and pre-tax profit edged higher owing to a pick-up in many of its markets.

Metro's sales gained 2.3 percent compared with the same period a year earlier, to 15.5 billion euros (20.5 billion dollars), a statement said.

Pre-tax profit was positive at four million euros, coming out of a loss of 117 million euros in the first three months of 2009, but the group did not provide a net figure, which is likely to have remained in the red.

It did report a loss of five euro cents per share, a figure that was nonetheless better than the 30-cent-per-share loss a year earlier.

"In some countries, the worst of the economic crisis seems to be over," Metro chief executive Eckhard Cordes said in a statement.

While the situation remained challenging, the group now sees some light on the horizon, he added.

With the euro falling in value against many currencies, Metro and its subsidiaries benefitted from positive foreign exchange effects, especially in eastern Europe, and from an early Easter, which helped first quarter sales.

The weakest divisions, the Kaufhof and Real retail chains, managed to trim their losses while the electronics stores Media Markt and Saturn continued to provide the lion's share of revenues.

© 2010 AFP

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