Metro generated like-for-like sales showing a slight contraction, of just 0.5%, in its fourth quarter. The company said a recovery in HoReCa sales and a ‘positive sales development’ in Germany, Russia and Eastern Europe had underpinned its improving performance.
Strong recovery in key markets
Metro said like-for-like sales had turned positive in Germany, Russia, and Eastern Europe, which it notes account for more than half of Group sales, while there had been a sequential improvement in Western Europe and Asia.
The company saw sales rise in Germany, by 2.7%, in Russia, by 8.2%, and Eastern Europe (excluding Russia), by 2%. It noted the positive effect the relaxing of COVID-19 related measures had on its performance and ‘the numerous measures taken in this context to strengthen the operating business and independent business owners’.
Improving picture seen as its financial year progressed
The improvement seen in the fourth quarter was underlined by Metro reporting full year like-for-like sales had seen a decline of 3.9%, while in the first nine months of the year it had seen like-for-like sales contract by 5%. Metro said it had outperformed many of its competitors, which helped it gain share in France, Germany, and Italy.
The overall numbers
At the end of its financial year, Metro said it operated 678 stores, flat on the year with one opening in Ukraine and one closing in Russia. In sales terms, it reported:
- In Q4 total sales fell 5.1% (or -0.6% in local currency terms) to €6.5 bn
- In FY2019/2020 total sales fell 5.4% (or -4.0% in local currency terms) to €25.6 bn
- Like-for-like sales fell 0.5% in Q4 and fell by 3.9% in the FY
Commenting on the results, Metro’s chief executive, Olaf Koch, said: “In this challenging year our holistic wholesale approach and diverse customer groups have proven to be very robust. So far, our progress through the COVID-19 phase has been very satisfactory compared to the development in the sector; our sales have recovered quickly and continuously and in the fourth quarter have almost returned to the previous year's level. We have also been able to gain significant market share in our core business and are back on track for growth in Russia.”