German retailer Metro Group has lowered its forecast for annual sales, pointing to challenging economic conditions in Europe.

The company today (1 August) confirmed that it now sees its sales reaching last year's level of EUR67.3bn or, at best, increasing by 4%. Metro's previous forecast was for sales to grow by over 4%.

A spokesman blamed "the business climate in Germany and also in Europe" for the new guidance.

The spokesman said the retailer's electronics chain Media-Saturn had been "hit hard" like other chains in the sector.

Metro, which owns the Real hypermarket chain and the Makro cash-and-carry banner, publishes its half-year results tomorrow.

Last month, Metro revealed it was in talks with interested parties over the future of its Real chain and the spokesman confirmed the retailer was still considering its options.