German retail giant Metro Group recorded a "successful" half-year as it closed the period with a 10.2% rise in EBIT before special items.

The figure rose to EUR482m (US$753.6m) for the period to 30 June 2008.

Group sales increased by 7.1% to EUR31.7bn, while the group's international share of sales exceeded 60%. Sales in the second quarter grew by 6.9% to EUR16.1bn.

"Overall Metro Group has achieved a successful first half-year," said Dr Eckhard Cordes, CEO of Metro Group. "We managed to continue our strong growth in an increasing difficult economic environment."

The company said the main growth drivers were Metro Cash & Carry as well as Media Markt and Saturn, with Real showing "improvements".

Inculding special items such as costs linked to the streamlining of its Real business, Metro made an operating loss of EUR130m following a profit of EUR437m in the first half of 2007.

The company said it predicts sales growth of more than 6% for the group during the current financial year, with the addition of around 40 new Metro Cash & Carry stores per year, 70 Media Markt and Saturn stores, as well as around 15 Real hypermarkets.