• Cash-and-carry unit reports loss
  • Losses at Real widened
  • Metro sticks to sales, profit forecasts

Metro Group's Real hypermarket and cash-and-carry divisions have contributed to the German retail giant losses widening in the first quarter of the year.

Metro today (3 May) reported a net loss of EUR82m (US$107.7m) for the first three months of the year. A year earlier, Metro recorded a loss of EUR3m.

The retailer made an operating loss of EUR9m in the first quarter of 2012, compared to operating profit of EUR142m in last year's first quarter.

Metro's cash-and-carry division, its largest in terms of sales, made an operating loss of EUR26m despite a 3.7% increase in sales to EUR7.3bn. The retailer pointed to "investments" in price, restructuring charges and expansion costs. A year ago, it made an operating profit of EUR27m.

Losses from the Real unit widened from EUR21m to EUR23m even as sales increased 2.3% to EUR2.7bn.

However, Metro said like-for-like sales from both divisions improved in Germany. Its cash-and-carry unit also increased like-for-likes in Asia, the retailer said.

"During the past few months we have invested massively into better prices and additional customer services. In many areas, our measures to improve like-for-like sales are already beginning to show the desired effects," Olaf Koch, chairman of Metro's management board, said.

Despite the losses, Metro maintained its forecast for EBIT before special items in 2012 to "roughly match" last year's EUR2.37bn. It also still expects its sales to increase this year.

Metro's shares, which climbed earlier in the day, were down 1.10% at EUR24.17 at 12.49 CET.

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