METRO GROUP Q1 sales at prior-year level despite late Easter
METRO GROUP significantly raised its earnings during the first quarter 2011. Operating earnings (EBIT) before special items climbed by 6.6% to € 145 million. With around € 15.5 billion, sales came in at the prior-year level - despite the complete shift of the Easter business into the second quarter.
"We again strengthened our earnings performance", said Dr Eckhard Cordes, Chairman of the Management Board of METRO AG. "This was achieved despite the late Easter business and thus also attests to our stronger earning power. With a view to the first four months of the year we have again already outperformed the year-earlier sales. This tells us: we continue on a profitable growth course".
During the first quarter 2011, METRO GROUP generated sales of € 15.5 billion (Q1 2010: € 15.5 billion). The first quarter was strongly influenced by the shift of the important Easter business. While last year's first quarter benefitted from an early Easter season, the Easter business in 2011 completely shifted into the second quarter.
Especially the sales trend in Germany was affected by the late Easter. First quarter sales receded by 2.6% to € 6.0 billion. Adjusted for store disposals, however, sales only gave in by 1.3%. International sales generated during the first quarter rose by 1.7% to € 9.5 billion. Here, too, the shift of the Easter business could be felt in the sales trend in Western and Eastern Europe. The international share of sales rose from 60.1% to 61.1%. In Western Europe, sales dropped by 1.9% to € 4.8 billion. Sales in Eastern Europe grew by 2.5% to € 3.8 billion. In the region Asia/Africa, sales again climbed significantly by 22.5% to € 0.9 billion.
During the first quarter 2011, EBIT before special items rose appreciably by 6.6% to € 145 million (Q1 2010: € 136 million). This rise is attributable to cost savings and also to productivity gains in the framework of Shape 2012. After accounting for special items, EBIT rose by € 25 million to € 142 million € (Q1 2010: € 117 million).
Adjusted for special items, earnings before taxes came in at € 25 million (Q1 2010: € 23 million). Including special items, earnings before taxes rose to € 22 million (Q1 2010: € 4 million).
Sales of Galeria Kaufhof receded by 4.7% to € 0.8 billion during the first quarter 2011. Like-for-like, sales dropped by 3.9%. In Germany, sales slumped by 5.8% to € 0.7 billion mainly owing to the Easter shift. Like-for-like, sales came in 4.8% lower. In March, the Galeria Kaufhof subsidiary Sportarena launched two pilot outlets of its new store concept Wanderzeit. On a sales floor of around 500 square meters, customers are offered an attractive range of equipment and clothing around the topic of hiking. In Western Europe, sales improved by 4.8% to € 0.1 billion. Here, business benefitted from a positive development of textiles sales. Like-for-like, sales climbed by 4.4%.
Due to the shift of the Easter business, EBIT dropped to € -27 million during the first quarter 2011.
METRO GROUP is one of the largest and most international retailing companies. In 2010 the Group reached sales of around € 67 billion. The company has a headcount of some 290,000 employees and operates more than 2,100 stores in 33 countries.