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Retail

Strong euro impacts Metro retail chain's operating profit

German wholesale and retail giant Metro has said its first-quarter earnings have been negatively affected by a strong domestic currency. But operating profit also went down because of a decrease in real estate earnings.

Following less-than-exciting Christmas business operations, Metro announced February 11 that its profit before interest and tax dipped by almost 16 percent in its first quarter from October to December in the company's 2013/2014 fiscal year.

Operating profit decreased to 1.07 billion euros ($1.46 billion), down from 1.27 billion euros in the same period a year earlier.

The group's turnover declined by 3 .3 percent to 18.7 billion euros. Metro CEO Olaf Koch said the Düsseldorf-based firm suffered from a strong euro impacting its sales in fast-growing markets in Eastern Europe and Asia.

Less turnover, but profitable

A job fair in a shopping mall

Koch also attributed the slump in revenues to the sale of parts of its Real supermarket business in Eastern Europe.

Despite those negative effects, Metro was able to raise its bottom-line profitability year-on-year. It secured net earnings of 451 million euros, compared with just 36 million euros a year earlier.

The chief executive said first-quarter results had laid the foundation for the payments of dividends this year after shareholders received nothing in 2013. Koch did not specify just how much would be paid out to investors.

hg/tj (Reuters, dpa)

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