Metro Group saw total sales fall 0.5%, to €14.2 bn, affected by negative currency and portfolio effects, noting that in local currency terms they rose by 0.2% during the fourth quarter. In like-for-like terms they increased by 0.1%. The group’s performance was boosted by its food-focused Cash & Carry and Real division, which offset weaker results at its consumer electronics division.
Sequential improvements at Metro Cash & Carry
In the fourth quarter, Metro Cash & Carry’s like-for-like sales rose 1.4%, its strongest performance of the financial year. The company noted that like-for-like sales increased in ‘the vast majority of countries’, while calling out the positive performance of Metro Cash & Carry Germany and Russia, where it said like-for-like sales had increased slightly. Total sales were flat for the quarter, with the acquisition of Rungis Express and Classic Fine Foods helping to offset negative currency effects and store disposals.
On a full year basis, Metro Cash & Carry said while total sales fell by 2.3%, to €29.0 bn, in local currency and like-for-like terms they were up, by 0.4% and 0.6% respectively. The results were aided by the addition of 22 new stores, of which the majority were in key future growth markets for the company, with five in India and Russia; four in China and three in Turkey.
Positive like-for-like growth at Real in Q4
Like-for-like sales rose 0.3% in the fourth quarter at Real, albeit total sales fell by 1.6% to €1.8 bn due to store closures during the quarter, when six were shuttered, and in the financial year, when eight were closed. Metro said that ‘successful advertising campaigns [had] resulted in a significant improvement'.
Strategy benefiting overall performance in food division
Metro noted the strategic steps it had taken in its 2015/16 financial year, which it believes will put its separate divisions on a strong footing in the medium to long term. The decision to split the company into two standalone companies, it believes, will enable each to focus on how to differentiate from rivals and, specifically at Metro Cash & Carry, to support its customers better. The acquisition of France-based Pro a Pro from Colruyt, meanwhile, supports its operations in the country and strengthens its position in foodservice distribution.
The growth of the Cash & Carry’s delivery business was also spotlighted by the company, where its acquisition of companies had helped boost sales by 18% to €3.7 bn. The pace of growth took the delivery business’s share of sales to 13%.