Metro Group today (3 August) reported a drop in first-half sales and earnings, as currency exchange and declining food prices dented the German retailer’s performance.

During the first six months of the year, Metro generated total sales of EUR30.5bn (US$43.67bn), down 3.2% from last year. The company said that this drop was “moderate” compared with “other industries” and emphasised that with the impact of currency exchange stripped out sales would have risen 0.5%.

EBIT totalled EUR392m, excluding special items, down from EUR493m in the first half of last year.

“In view of the massive economic crisis Metro Group stood its ground well”, said CEO Dr. Eckhard Cordes. “We won market share in many countries and are consistently using the opportunities ensuing from the crisis”.

While Cordes said that this meant Metro would be well positioned when the financial crisis comes to an end, he warned that unemployment could his sales in the second quarter.

“One important factor for the further development of business in the retail sector is the question to which extent effects will be felt on the labour market,” Cordes said.