Germany's biggest retailer posts surprise quarterly loss

Metro AG, Germany's biggest retailer, posted a surprise first quarter loss after weak performance from its electronics chain and slower consumer spending in Europe.

The Dusseldorf-based group said its net loss for the three months ending in March was €82m, steeper than the €3m loss posted in the same period last year and well shy for forecasts from analysts who cover the retail giant. Revenues across the group rose 2.2 percent to €15.6bn. Metro's discount electronics division, which operates under the brand name Media-Saturn, posted a €20m loss for the quarter.

The group will cut its planned capital investments programme to €1.8bn from €2bn and scrap plans to expand its cash-and-carry business into Indonesia in order to concentrate on re-organizing the core European business and like-for-like sales.

Metro shares fell more than 3 percent in the opening minutes of trading in Frankfurt Thursday, before paring losses to 1.2 percent decline, changing hands at €24.08 per share. Metro shares have fallen around 20 percent since early January.