By  on March 23, 2005

BERLIN — The Metro Group continued to grow earnings and sales in 2004, buoyed by expansion in Eastern Europe and the strength of its Metro Cash & Carry, Media Markt, Saturn and Praktiker retail divisions.

Group net profit rose 10.7 percent to $1.16 billion , or 933 million euros. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization gained 13.9 percent to $3.70 billion, or 2.98 billion euros, and operative earnings before goodwill amortization rose 13.8 percent to $2.24 billion, or 1.81 billion euros. Group sales increased 5.3 percent to $69.94 billion, or 56.4 billion euros. German sales reached $35.71 billion, or 28.8 billion euros. All dollar figures have been converted from the euro at average exchange for the year. 

Metro, the world’s fifth-largest retail company, is active in 30 markets, and foreign sales accounted for 49 percent of its 2004 group sales, up from 47.2 percent in 2003.

Metro’s Kaufhof department store division continued to feel the impact of price sensitivity and consumer reluctance in Germany. Sales dipped 1.3 percent to $4.71 billion, or 3.8 billion euros, while Kaufhof Warenhaus AG posted an EBITA decline to $69.6 million, or 56.1 million euros, versus $123.4 million, or 99.5 million euros, in the year-ago period. Metro attributed the drop to declining sales and one-time expenses for the restructuring of the company’s headquarters and its portfolio of locations.

“Kaufhof’s key strategic goal for the current fiscal year is to improve its earnings situation,” Metro said.

On the other hand, the division’s 15 Inno department stores in Belgium grew sales by 3.2 percent to $318.2 million, or 256.6 million euros.

Metro achieved its goal of raising earnings per share by 6 to 10 percent. Before goodwill amortization, earnings per share increased 7.7 percent to $3.14, or 2.53 euros.

Excluding one-time expenses for the consolidation of the Extra supermarket locations portfolio, earnings per share went up 10.4 percent.

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