Wholesale giant Metro AG has posted a like-for-like sales decline of 3.9% in its full-year 2019/20, a period it described as 'robust'.
The group said that following a challenging third quarter, which was impacted by COVID-19, the group saw an acceleration in Q4, with a performance almost on a par with the corresponding period the previous year.
Reported sales for the full year were 5.4% lower, at €25.6 billion (2019: €27.1 billion), while adjusted EBITDA was €1.16 billion, compared to €1.39 billion the previous year.
Metro said that it posted a 'stable operating performance' in Russia, Eastern Europe and Germany, while government restrictions had a 'negative impact' in Western Europe and Asia, which was partially offset by an efficiency programme at the group's headquarters and an improved operating performance in logistics.
In terms of the group's core markets, the group noted that its Russia business is now 'back on track', having posted a 3.8% increase in like-for-like sales in the full year.
Its home market of Germany saw a 0.8% decline in like-for-like sales, while its Western Europe business (excluding Germany) was down 10.6%. Eastern Europe (excluding Russia) was up 2.2%, with Asia down 7.0%.
'From the second half of Q3, thanks to the continuous easing of government restrictions and the roll-out of numerous operational initiatives, business development improved continuously,' the group said in a statement.
'In Q4 2019/20, another significant trend improvement was achieved in all regions and business development was almost at the level of the previous year. In FY 2019/20, Metro was even able to gain significant market shares in its core business, amongst others in Germany, France and Italy, and is showing a distinct positive development in Russia and Eastern Europe. As such, Metro has emerged very satisfactorily from the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.'
Looking ahead to the coming year, while Metro said that it was anticipating a return to 'sustainable sales and earnings growth' after the COVID-19 crisis, it is expecting full-year 2021/21 sales to be slightly below that of the current year, while adjusted EBITDA is expected to decline by a mid-double-digit million euro amount.
This is partly due to the re-imposition of government restrictions, which are partially expected until mid Q2 of the full-year period, with a corresponding effect on sales.
The group said that it has seen a decline in performance in October and November, due to the second wave of COVID-19, with like-for-like sales down 12% across all customer groups for the two moths, and down by 34% in HoReCa.
© 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.