German retail giant Metro has reported a sales jump of 4.2% from EUR53.5bn to EUR55.7bn over the previous financial year – thanks largely to international sales.

In Germany sales declined by 2.2% but international sales were up 10.5% and the international share of sales, at 53.4%, accounted for over half of all sales for the first time on an annual basis.

In the fourth quarter group sales were up 3.9% to EUR16.7bn, with business in Germany again characterised by cautious consumer behaviour, recording a 3.9% decline in sales there. International sales increased by 11.5% to EUR9.1 bn over this period.

Metro CEO Hans-Joachim Körber said: “Trading in the fourth quarter was in line with our expectations, as revised in November 2005. Christmas trading in Germany was generally flat, as anticipated. Again, our international business delivered double-digit sales growth. Within our strategy of profitable growth this is where we will maintain our investment focus.”

2004 and 2005 sales and location data does not include the former sales division Praktiker – whose shares were listed on the stock exchange in November 2005.

In November, just-food reported that Metro group sales were up 4.9% in the third quarter, again boosted by continuing double-digit sales growth outside Germany.