BERLIN — Negative currency effects, particularly related to Russia and the Ukraine, cut into the Metro Group’s earnings and sales performance in its first quarter of fiscal 2014/15.
Net profit for the German cash & carry, department store, hypermarket and electronics retail group slipped 10.7 percent to 459 million euros, or $573.4 million, for the three months ending Dec. 31, 2014.
Dollar figures are converted at average exchange for the period to which they refer.
Before special items, net profit was roughly on par with the period a year previously.
Negative currency effects of about 60 million euros dampened operating by 4.6 percent to 1.02 billion euros, or $1.28 billion, while group sales in reported currency slipped 2.2 percent to 18.31 billion euros, or $22.87 billion.
Adjusted for currency effects and portfolio changes, group sales rose by 2.6 percent in the quarter, with like-for-like sales growing 2.1 percent, Metro noted. Online sales posted a 30 percent gain in the period, to reach 600 million euros, or $749.5 million.
“Unfortunately, the weak ruble obscures our overall good operating performance,” said Olaf Koch, chairman of the management board of Metro AGA. He added the group remains “confident that we will achieve our sales and earnings targets for the full year.”
Metro forecasts a slight rise in overall sales, and expects EBIT to rise slightly above fiscal 2013/14’s level of 1.73 billion euros.
At the core Metro Cash & Carry division, negative currency effects related to the Russian ruble pushed EBIT before special items down 10.9 percent to 485 million euros, or $605.8 million, with sales in euro down 3.6 percent to 8.2 billion euros, or $10.24 billion. In local currency, sales rose 1.1 percent, with like-for-like sales up 1.4 percent, and thus charting growth for the sixth consecutive quarter.
Mild weather conditions and a soft start to the winter season took their toll at the Galeria Kaufhof department store division. EBIT before special items was down 12.6 percent to 139 million euros, or $173.6 million, with sales slipping 1 percent to 993 million euros, or $1.24 billion. Like-for-like sales were down 1.4 percent, with like-for-like sales in the chain’s Belgium stores falling 5.9 percent.