Metro reported fourth-quarter and full-year revenue slightly below consensus expectations. However, the management reaffirmed its EUR 2 billion EBIT projection for 2012. The company expects to report full-year detailed financial results March 20.
That, along with the decision to pull the plug on its Media-Saturn stores in China, has shares trading higher despite the tepid fourth-quarter sales results. The move to close loss-making operations in China follows the company’s recent sale of 91 Real hypermarkets in Poland, Russia, Romania, and Ukraine. This signals that relatively new chief executive officer Olaf Koch is allocating capital more carefully.
Overall fourth-quarter group sales increased just 0.5% from the year-ago period to EUR 19.4 billion, but like-for-like sales fell at all of Metro’s operating divisions. LFL revenue at Metro Cash & Carry stores decreased 0.5%, 20 basis points more than the 0.3% decline during last year’s fourth quarter.
Real stores reported a 0.3% same-store sales decline, but that was an improvement for the 2% decrease in the yearago period. Comparable-store sales fell 3% in the fourth quarter at Media-Saturn, nearly the same as the 3.3% decrease last year. Galeria Kaufhof department stores’ LFL sales improved compared with the 4.3% decline in the yearago period, but were still down 1.9% in the fourth quarter. Sales, especially in nonfood categories, were weakest in Germany and Western Europe.
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