BERLIN — The Metro Group booked a net loss of 81 million euros, or $106.2 million, in the first quarter of 2012, versus net profits of 14 million euros, or $19.1 million, in the same prior-year period.

The company cited higher expansion costs and expenses to improve customer value among contributing factors.
   
The German cash and carry, department store, hypermarket and electronics retail group generated an operating loss of 9 million euros, or $11.8 million. In comparison, earnings before interest and taxes in the first quarter of 2011 hit 142 million euros, or $194.1 million.
   
Metro Group’s sales gained 2.2 percent to 15.6 billion euros, or $20.5 billion. On a local-currency basis, revenues increased 2.6 percent.

All dollar figures are converted at average exchange rates for the periods in question.   

The core Metro Cash & Carry division reported an operating loss of 26 million euros, or $34.1 million, compared to operating earnings of 27 million euros, or $36.9 million, in first-quarter 2011. Its sales grew 3.7 percent to 7.3 billion euros, or $9.6 billion.
   
Metro’s Galeria Kaufhof department store division trimmed losses by 3 million euros to 24 million euros, or $31.5 million. Its sales were up 0.9 percent to 705 million euros, or $924.2 million.

Metro chief exececutive officer Olaf Koch stated that measures in the last few months to improve prices, customer service and like-for-like sales have already begun “to show the desired effects. We expect that, based on the sales growth, our full-year earnings will come in roughly at the prior-year levels.”

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