Metro targets "marked" rise in profit as turnaround delivers
COLOGNE Dec 12 (Reuters) - German retailer Metro said it aimed for a significant improvement in profitability for 2013/14 as a restructuring plan starts to deliver after meeting its own guidance for operating earnings for the first nine months of 2013.
Metro on Thursday reported earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), before special items, of 728 million euros ($1 billion) for the shortened 2013 business year to September. It had hoped to "slightly exceed" the 706 million euros of the prior year.
Metro said it expected "slight absolute sales growth" for its new Oct. 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2014 reporting year, while EBIT before special items should "markedly exceed" a comparative level of 1.7 billion euros from the 2012/13 period.
Europe's fourth-biggest retailer, which runs cash and carries, supermarkets, department stores and Europe's biggest consumer electronics chain, had already reported third-quarter sales fell 2.1 percent to 15.5 billion euros.
($1 = 0.7251 euros) (Reporting by Emma Thomasson)
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