Wholesaler Metro said that its fourth quarter like-for-like sales performance was 'roughly on a par' with the previous year, driven by a 'notable' recovery in HoReCa sales.
The group posted a 0.5% decline in like-for-like sales in the period, and said that its sales for the full year were down 3.9%, at the upper end of its previously issued guidance (-3.5% to -5%).
“Despite COVID- 19, we successfully completed the large portfolio projects in the past financial year,” said Olaf Koch, CEO of Metro AG. “In this challenging year, our holistic wholesale approach and diverse customer groups have proven to be very robust."
Koch, who departs Metro at the end of the year, said that the business' progress throughout the year has been "very satisfactory", with a marked recovery in sales as the year as progressed.
"We have also been able to gain significant market share in our core business and are back on track for growth in Russia. With the exception of the third quarter, which was burdened by COVID-19, we can therefore look back on a stable and resilient fiscal year overall, in which the transformation to a pure wholesaler has been completed.”
The group's best-performing markets on a like-for-like basis in Q4 were Germany, which was up 2.7%, Russia, which saw a 8.2% rise, and Eastern Europe (excluding Russia), which was up 2.0%.
However Western Europe (excluding Germany) was down 3.6%, and Asia saw a 12.2% decline, the latter showing a 'significant improvement' compared to the third quarter.
Metro posted sales of €6.5 billion in the quarter, which was 5.1% lower on a reported basis. For the full year, sales stood at €25.6 billon, which is 5.4% lower on a reported basis.
The group said that negative exchange rate effects, particularly in Russia and Turkey, contributed to its reported sales decline.
As of 30 September 2019, the group's store network includes 678 stores, following one new store opening in Ukraine and one store closure in Russia.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.