Metro Group has denied reports it is looking to sell off its Real hypermarket stores outside Germany.

A spokesperson for Metro Real told just-food today (7 July) that there was no truth in reports the group has plans to sell its international Real chain as part of a restructuring of the business.

According to a local report in Lebensmittel Zeitung, Metro is said to be considering a sale of its Real business in Central and Eastern Europe.

However, a spokesperson told just-food: "There are no plans for a sale. Although we have received some interest in the international business of Real, there has been no decision to sell Real International and there have been no concrete negotiations so far."

The spokesperson declined to comment on what interest it had received in the business.

There has been ongoing speculation over the future of Real. In May, a spokesperson had told just-food there were "strategic options" available for the business.

"Our view on Real is unchanged: due to the successful repositioning and the stable performance we have different strategic options. We are amenable concerning all theoretical scenarios: a complete or partly sale as well as that Real stays within the group on long-term. Real has a business potential which can reach the targeted return on sales of two to three percent. Thus, it is our priority to further develop the business and to exploit its potential."

Last summer, Metro had told just-food it was in talks with "potential interested parties" over the future of the chain.