BERLIN — Investors reacted positively to the new restructuring program announced by German retail giant Metro on Tuesday, pushing shares up 8 percent to 26.27 euros, or $33.89 at current exchange rates, in trading in Frankfurt.
Metro said it aims to improve profits by 1.5 billion euros ($1.94 billion) until 2012 and beyond through the new program “Shape 2012.” All dollar figures are converted from the euro at current exchange rates.
The group, which includes the Metro Cash & Carry hypermarkets, Galeria Kaufhof department stores as well as electronics chains and supermarkets, plans to simplify its structures to maximize growth and improve customer orientation while significantly reducing costs. Indeed, cost-cutting measures are expected to contribute half of the slated 1.5 billion euro gains, while the remainder is to be realized via improved productivity, the retailer said.
According to Metro chief executive Eckhard Cordes, the management board has been working on the new strategy since last summer. The group noted that profit improvements resulting from the program “will depend on the development of the macroeconomic developments in our sales markets.” Metro, which currently generates over 60 percent of its business outside Germany, saw nondomestic sales slow in 2008, but said growth through international expansion remains fundamental to its strategy.
Details of the restructuring program were not outlined, but Metro said Shape 2012 will affect about 15,000 jobs. However, in a second statement late Tuesday, Metro explained this did not mean 15,000 workers would lose their jobs, but rather that the group would not fill all vacant positions.
Metro currently employs around 300,000 worldwide, and typically hires an additional 8,000 to 10,000 people annually.
In its trading statement for 2008 released last week, Metro reported sales growth of 5.9 percent to 68 billion euros ($100.05 billion), based on preliminary figures, and said 2008 EBIT growth is expected to be in line with sales growth. However, pointing to sharply deteriorating economic conditions in the fourth quarter, Metro also announced a cut in 2009 capital spending to 1.6 billion euros, compared with more than 2.2 billion in 2008. Full-year 2008 results will be released March 24.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast