Metro Profits Plunge 53% in Q3

German retail group blames negative economic climate in parts of Europe.

BERLIN — Citing the negative economic climate, particularly in Southern and Eastern Europe, the Metro Group reported a 58 percent decline in net profit in the third quarter.


Sales for the German cash & carry, department store, hypermarket and electronics retail group were up 0.6 percent for the period to 15.9 billion euros, or $19.9 billion. On a local currency basis, group sales were down 0.3 percent in the quarter.


Net profit reached 89 million euros, or $111.4 million, compared to 211 million euros, or $298.8 million, in the year-ago quarter. Dollar figures are converted from the euro at an average exchange rate for the period to which they refer.


Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell 35.2 percent to 398 million euros, or $498.1 million.


The core Cash & Carry division grew sales 0.8 percent, though sales in Germany and Western Europe suffered single-digit declines.


Eastern Europe generated 6.6 percent gains, with sales in Asia and Africa surging ahead 32.2 percent.


Metro said better international earnings could not make up for “the sales and goods-related drop in earnings in Germany resulting from the shift of the campaign focus into the fourth quarter.”


The Galeria Kaufhof department store division grew sales 1.8 percent to 700 million euros or $876 million, and slimmed losses from 9 million euros, or $12.7 million, in 2011 to 2 million euros, or $2.5 million.


For the full year, the Metro Group said it is expecting sales growth without being more specific.


As per its downgraded earnings guidance from early October, Metro is forecasting EBIT before special items to reach about 2 billion euros, as opposed to roughly matching 2011 levels of 2.37 billion euros.