German Metro posts strong Q3 results, raises outlook

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The German retail giant Metro raised on Tuesday its 2010 profit target following a strong third quarter that saw a pick-up in key eastern European markets.

"Eastern Europe is making a comeback as a growth driver," Metro chief executive Eckhard Cordes was quoted by a statement as saying.

The global economic slowdown last year led to a slump in the region but it has rebounded and favourable exchange rates have added to Metro sales figures.

The owner of Metro, Real supermarkets and the Media Markt and Saturn appliance and electronics chains posted a 4.5 percent rise in third quarter sales to 16.3 billion euros (22.7 billion dollars).

Metro has also carried out a cost-cutting programme which helped net profit gain 22 percent from the third quarter of 2009 to 149 million euros and core profit to rise by 27 percent to 445 million.

For the full year, Metro now forecasts core earnings of 2.3 billion euros, up from its previous estimate of 2.2 billion.

All of the group's divisions reported core profits before interest and tax (Ebit) in the quarter, including problem units Real and the department store chain Kaufhof.

The latter has cut costs and also seen a return of German shoppers as unemployment in the biggest European economy remains on a steady downward path.

© 2010 AFP

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