Metro has said that it remains focused on driving international expansion and progressing its restructuring initiative despite the global economic crisis.

The German retailer, which this morning (3 November) hailed a "robust" third quarter performance, said that its Shape 2012 restructuring programme was beginning to pay off and would "gradually" show its cumulative effect on earnings until 2012.

Third quarter earnings remained "almost stable" and EBIT totalled EUR748m for the first nine-months of the year despite a "challenging market environment" and a currency related decrease in sales, Metro said.

Sales totalled EUR46.1bn in the January to September period. Revenues dipped 3.7% after currency exchange, but were up 0.3% on a constant currency basis.

Metro emphasised that it remained committed to investing in expansion despite the economic downturn.

"In times of crisis we continue to invest in our growth," CEO Eckhard Cordes said.

The company opened its first store in Kazakhstan during the period and began the construction of its first outlet in Egypt, which is scheduled to open next year.

Metro also underlined its commitment to the crisis-struck Russian market, which recently saw the exit of French peer Carrefour. Metro Cash & Carry opened its fiftieth wholesale outlet in Russia last month.

Metro said that its store network would be "distinctly extended" in the fourth quarter. The group opened 44 new stores in the first nine months, with a further 30 stores planned for opening in remainder of the year.
Investments, Metro said, will focus on the growth regions Eastern Europe and Asia.

"Herewith, we are strengthening our outstanding starting position for the next economic upturn,"  Cordes concluded.