BERLINMetro Group narrowed losses in its fiscal second quarter, but portfolio and exchange rate effects lightly impacted sales in the period.

Metro, which is now composed of Metro Cash & Carry hypermarkets, Media-Saturn electronics and Real supermarket divisions, reported a net loss of 43 million euros, or $47.4 million, compared to a loss of 63 million euros, or $ 71.1 million, in the year-ago period.

Dollar figures are converted at average exchange for the three months ended March 31, 2016.

The operating loss came to 34 million euros, or $37.5 million, compared to a loss of 564 million euros, or $636.4 million, the previous year, which reflected special items mostly related to a goodwill impairment at Real. Earnings before interest and taxes before special items reached 11 million euros, or $12.1 million, compared to a loss of 24 million euros, or $27.1 million, in the previous year. The sale of the group’s Vietnam wholesale business in January positively influenced the earnings picture.

Group sales for the quarter slipped 0.9 percent to 13.57 billion euros, or $15.31 billion, due to negative currency effects and portfolio changes. On a like-for-like basis, sales gained 0.6 percent, supported by a strong performance in the group’s home market of Germany, Metro said.

At the core Cash & Carry division, currency effects primarily relating to the Russian ruble and portfolio changes pushed reported sales down 2.9 percent to 6.49 billion, or $7.33 billion. Like-for-like sales, supported by positive calendar effects, were up 0.5 percent.

Metro confirmed its full-year forecast for 2015-16, which calls for a slight increase in overall sales as well as a light gain in like-for-like sales, which grew 1.5 percent in fiscal 2014-15. The group forecasts EBIT before special items will rise slightly above last year’s figure of 1.5 million euros.

This forecast is based on Metro’s current group structure. As reported, Metro is planning a de-merger into two independently listed companies by 2017:  one for consumer electronics, and a wholesale and food specialist group. The group sold its Kaufhof Galeria department store division to HBC in 2014.

Separately on Wednesday, Metro said it acquired a strategic stake in Berlin-based start-up Orderbird, which the group described as “the leading iPad-based point of sale system for restaurants in the DACH (Germany, Austrian, Switzerland) region.”

Metro has been steadily investing in digital operations in the hospitality sector with the goal of “becoming a one-stop partner for its customers from the hotel and restaurant business.”

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