October 20, 2017 / 6:09 AM / in a year

UPDATE 2-Metro reports sluggish quarterly sales growth

* Q4 sales 9.2 bln euros vs analyst forecasts for 9.3 bln

* Same-store sales at wholesale stores dip in Germany

* Sales at Real hypermarkets helped by online push (Adds details, analyst comment)

BERLIN, Oct 20 (Reuters) - German retailer Metro reported slower sales growth in the final quarter of its 2016/17 fiscal year as same store growth stalled in its wholesale stores in Germany and decelerated in Real hypermarkets, despite a push into ecommerce.

Metro, which runs wholesale stores in 35 countries as well as Real hypermarkets in Germany, split from consumer electronics group Ceconomy in July, hoping that independence would help it focus and potentially pursue more acquisitions.

Fiscal fourth-quarter sales rose 0.7 percent to 9.2 billion euros ($10.86 billion) as currency effects weighed, just missing average analyst forecasts for 9.3 billion euros, according to Thomson Reuters SmartEstimates.

Metro’s shares, which have failed to meet expectations for a rerating since the split from Ceconomy, were down 0.8 percent at 0730 GMT, making them the biggest fallers among European retail stocks.

“Metro’s valuation context is unlikely to shift meaningfully until the group either demonstrates better leverage into an improving European consumer backdrop or Russian trading conditions improve,” wrote Jefferies analysts.

Same store sales rose 0.5 percent, compared to 2.6 percent the previous quarter.

Sales at Metro’s wholesale stores rose 0.5 percent in like-for-like terms, helped by strong growth in Turkey, but dampened by a slight fall in its home market Germany and by a decline in Russia, where it generates the bulk of its profits.

While the Russian rouble has been stronger of late as oil prices rise, Turkey’s lira has fallen on geopolitical worries.

Same store sales rose 0.6 percent at its Real hypermarkets, boosted by its push into online grocery, although growth was down from 2.5 percent in the previous quarter.

Metro confirmed a media report this week that Real would be rolling out online deliveries across Germany following a trial in Duesseldorf.

The wholesale unit is also expanding its delivery business, with sales up by more than a quarter in the financial year to account for 17 percent of the total in the fourth quarter.

Metro will report full 2016/17 figures on Dec. 13, when it said it would also publish a forecast for the next financial year. It had not given a forecast for the 2016/17 year due to the demerger from Ceconomy.

$1 = 0.8469 euros Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Maria Sheahan/Keith Weir

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