* Christmas quarter sales slip below expectations
* Cash-and-carry growth in Spain, Turkey, China, Russia
* Media-Saturn December sales hurt by "Black Friday"
(Adds shares, analyst comment)
By Emma Thomasson
BERLIN, Jan 10 German retailer Metro,
which plans to split into two companies by the middle of the
year, reported that sales slipped 0.6 percent in the critical
Christmas quarter due to weakness at its Real hypermarkets and a
sluggish performance in consumer electronics.
Metro shares, which have jumped 13 percent over the last
three months after it reported better than expected quarterly
operating profit, were down 2.3 percent by 0845 GMT, the second
biggest faller on the German mid-cap index.
Sales for the October-December quarter slipped to 17 billion
euros ($18 billion), slightly below analysts' expectations for
17.2 billion, according to Thomson Reuters Smart Estimates. On a
like-for-like basis, sales were up 0.1 percent.
"The Christmas quarter was uninspiring," said Equinet
analyst Christian Bruns, who rates the stock "Neutral", adding
he would have expected sales at the troubled Real business to
start stablising by now given solid German consumption.
Data out last week showed that German retail sales rose by
between 1.8 and 2.1 percent in 2016 in real terms, a slightly
slower growth rate than in the previous year.
Metro plans to split off its cash-and-carry wholesale
business along with Real, from Media-Saturn, Europe's biggest
consumer electronics group, hoping to help each become more
focused and better able to pursue growth.
The cash-and carry business that serves independent traders,
hotels and restaurants saw sales rise 0.7 percent on a
like-for-like basis, boosted by Spain, Turkey and China, Metro
said on Tuesday.
It said it was also helped by a recovery in the Russian
rouble and reported like-for-like sales growth in Russia despite
more intense price competition. Russia is the unit's most
Meanwhile, Real hypermarkets in Germany, battling tough
competition from discounters and a shift towards smaller, more
frequent shopping trips, saw same-store sales fall 1.7 percent
due to a weak start to Christmas trade, particularly for food.
By contrast, Britain's Morrisons reported its
strongest underlying sales performance for seven years - a rise
of 2.9 percent in the nine weeks to Jan. 1 - helped by new
ranges and revamped stores.
Metro confirmed its forecast for the 2016/17 fiscal year for
a slight rise in overall sales and a slight improvement in
earnings before interest and taxation before special items.
Metro said its Media-Saturn consumer electronics unit had
flat like-for-like sales, with December turnover hurt by
consumers pulling forward purchases due to the "Black Friday"
sale in November.
It saw declines in sales of entertainment, photo and
hardware products roughly offset by growth in smartphones, white
goods and televisions.
British rival Dixons Carphone said last month it is
planning for tougher times ahead although it has not yet seen
any impact on consumer demand from Britain's vote to leave the
(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Georgina Prodhan/Keith