Home food chains fair less well, after undergoing restructuring
German retail giant Metro has seen steady sales growth, as it continues to push its international division. The group reported a sales increase of 5.3 per cent to Eu 56.4 billion (£39.36 billion) in the year to December 31. International sales increased 9.2 per cent, accounting for 49 per cent of turnover compared with 47.2 per cent in 2003. Fourth-quarter sales increased 6 per cent at group level and 10.6 per cent internationally.

Metro Group chief executive officer Hans-Joachim Körber said: 'Due to the good international development and a business above expectations in our non-food divisions, we maintain our earnings per share target. The satisfactory course of the Christmas business gives us confidence for 2005.' The food chains Real and Extra, presently undergoing restructuring, performed less well, with an unspecified fall in like-for-like sales.

Metro Group has 2,445 stores in 29 countries. A more detailed announcement of the annual performance will be made by Metro on March 22.