Metro sales hit by sluggish Christmas, forex impact

DUESSELDORF Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:31am EST

DUESSELDORF Jan 13 (Reuters) - German retailer Metro reported disappointing trading over the key Christmas period on Monday as it said sales for the last three months of 2013 fell 3.3 percent, also hurt by negative currency effects.

Europe's fourth-biggest retailer, which runs cash and carries, supermarkets, department stores and the region's top consumer electronics chain, reported sales for the first quarter of its 2013/14 financial year of 18.7 billion euros ($25.57 billion), a rise of 1.1 percent after currency effects and divestments.

The sprawling group which runs over 2,200 outlets in 32 countries but gets just over two thirds of sales from Germany and other western European countries, has been divesting non-core businesses, cutting prices at its cash and carries, as well as revamping product ranges and investing in its delivery arm.

Chief Executive Olaf Koch said in a statement the sales development was still in line with the company's guidance for "slight absolute sales growth" for 2013/14.

($1 = 0.7314 euros) (Reporting by Emma Thomasson and Matthias Inverardi)

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