May 3 - German retailer Metro AG missed forecasts in the first quarter adding fears that austerity measures and rising prices were keeping shoppers away. Hayley Platt reports.
The world's fourth-biggest retailer Metro missed analysts forecasts posting a smaller than expected profit thanks to its cost cutting exercise. Underlying operating profits rose 6.6 percent to 145 million euros but sales were flat - analysts had been expecting a small rise. The German group runs cash and carries, hypermarkets and department stores. It said sales were hampered by a late Easter. Its consumer electronics stores, MediaMarkt-Saturn did slightly better than its department stores, as shoppers spent on tablet computers and energy-saving appliances. Metro has more than 2,000 stores in 33 countries. It said political unrest in the Middle East and the earthquake in Japan had knocked shares. But it expects sales to grow more than 4 percent over the whole year and profits to rise by 10 percent. In early trade shares were down around two per cent. Hayley Platt, Reuters.