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Metro mulls cutting 17,000 jobs

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Metro mulls cutting 17,000 jobs
Photo: DPA
12:04 CEST+02:00
German retailing giant Metro said on Monday it was now considering cutting 17,000 jobs as part of its major restructuring programme – potentially eliminating thousands more positions than previously announced.

The company’s chairman, Eckhard Cordes, said the cuts would be part of changes already underway at Metro’s various retail units, including Cash & Carry, Real, MediaMarkt, Saturn and Galeria Kaufhof. The restructuring known as “Shape 2012” is meant to improve the group’s operating profit by €1.5 billion.

Metro posted on Monday a 3.8 percent drop in second quarter sales owing to negative foreign exchange effects in Eastern Europe, but managed to eke out a slight net profit. The group's sales fell to €15.3 billion ($21.8 billion).

The world's third biggest retailer behind Walmart and Carrefour nonetheless made a net profit of €48 million, compared with a loss of €453 million in the second quarter of 2008. Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had expected Metro to turn in a higher net profit of €78 million, however.

In the first half of 2009, group sales amounted to €30.5 billion, a decrease of 3.2 percent from the same period a year earlier, although when it was corrected for foreign exchange they gained 0.5 percent.

Eastern European sales plunged by 11.6 percent on an uncorrected basis, but edged higher by 0.1 percent within the group's domestic German market.

Metro did not give an outlook for the rest of the year, although Cordes said that "in view of the massive economic crisis Metro stood its ground well." The final result would depend on large part on development in slumping jobs

markets, he added.

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