Metro earning miss on margin softness

Metro earning miss on margin softness

German retailer Metro Group saw its share price slip in early trade today (11 February) after reporting a decline in first-quarter sales and operating earnings that missed market expectations.

During the first three months of its financial year, which included the key Christmas trading period, Metro said sales slid 3.3% to EUR18.7bn (US$25.56bn).

Excluding currency exchange, sales were down 1.4%. The group said organic sales were flat but added the top line was dented by the sale of its Real format in eastern Europe and its Media Markt arm in China.

Metro said operating profit was hit by lower real estate income and one-time costs totalling EUR21m. EBIT slipped to EUR1.07bn, down from EUR1.27bn in the comparable period of last year.

According to Bernstein Research analyst Bruno Monteyne, this result missed the research firm's expectations. "Results were below our expectations of EUR1.16bn as we expected to see more stable margins, despite the lost real estate income."

The bottom line, however, was boosted by a significant reduction in the group's tax rate, which fell from 85% last year to 45.6% in this quarter. Net profit increased

Shares in Metro had fallen 2.62% to EUR30.82 by 10.12 GMT.

Click here to view Metro's full earnings update.