BERLIN — Good Christmas business at the Metro Group helped compensate for negative currency and portfolio effects in the first quarter of its 2015-16 fiscal year.
In preliminary figures released Tuesday, the German Cash & Carry electronics and supermarket retailer reported sales slipped 1.5 percent to 17.1 billion euros, or $18.73 billion, in the three months ending Dec. 31, 2015.
Dollar figures are converted at an average exchange rate for the period to which they refer.
Group like-for-like sales were flat in the quarter.
Metro said the group’s Christmas business in Germany was up 2.1 percent on a like-for-like basis.
The company’s core Cash & Carry division booked a 0.2 percent gain in like-for-like sales, marking the tenth consecutive quarter of positive development. Reported sales in euros fell 2.4 percent to 8 billion euros, or $8.76 billion, with sales in local currency down 0.1 percent. Metro pointed out that first-quarter sales in the previous year still included revenues from its now discontinued business in Denmark and Greece, as well as its business in Vietnam that was sold at the end of December.
Metro said Cash & Carry sales in Germany were positive, with Christmas business providing a strong push in December, and added key markets such as Spain, Italy, Czech Republic and Romania also performing well. Up against strong comparisons influenced by “pull-forward effects in the course of the ruble crisis” in the same period last year, sales in Russia declined in the quarter.
Metro did not release earnings figures, but noted that the end-December 2015 sale of its Vietnam Cash & Carry business will add an EBIT effect of more than 400 million euros, or $436.1 million at current exchange, therefore significantly increasing first-quarter results. (The company’s quarterly statement for that period will be published on Feb. 11.)
Despite a difficult market environment, the Metro Group said it “remains confident for financial years 2015-16” and confirmed its original forecast, which calls for like-for-like sales growth and EBIT before special items — based on constant foreign exchange rates — meeting fiscal 2014-15 levels.