German Retailer Metro Posts 8.3% Sales Rise

Retailer Metro said Thursday fourth-quarter sales rose 8.3 percent from a year ago, pushed higher by consumers making more purchases in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.

The Dusseldorf-based operator of electronics chains Saturn and MediaMarkt, department store Galeria Kaufhof and Metro Cash and Carry, said its sales in the October-December period were 19.9 billion euros ($29.2 billion) compared with 18.4 billion euros in 2006.

That was above the expectations of 19.7 billion euros ($28.9 billion) that analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had expected.

Metro shares gained nearly 7 percent to 54.60 euros ($80.15) in Frankfurt.

For the year, the company said sales reached 65.9 billion euros ($96.7 billion), up 10 percent from 59.9 billion euros in 2006.

The company did not break out its fourth-quarter or full-year net profit figures, but will release them, along with its complete 2007 results, on March 18.

The company, in a statement, said that its fourth-quarter sales in Eastern Europe rose by nearly 24 percent to 4.9 billion euros ($7.2 billion) from 3.9 billion euros a year earlier, while sales in Asia and Africa, rose nearly 27 percent to 500 million euros ($734 million) from 400 million euros in 2006.

Sales in its home market, Germany, in the last three months of 2007 were up 1.5 percent at 8.4 billion euros ($12.3 billion) from 8.3 billion euros, slowed by the increase of the country's value-added tax from 16 percent to 19 percent.