Of course, the health of our customers and employees is always our top priority. As far-reaching hygiene regulations apply to our employees and markets not only at the present time but also during regular operations, we consider ourselves well prepared for the current situation.

METRO has taken numerous preventive protective measures for customers and employees in the stores and the offices. In the following some practical examples:

  • In order to continue to guarantee our customers a safe purchase, disinfectants were provided at all customer entrances to the stores as well as at cash registers and in Ultra Fresh areas (already available as standard).
  • The METRO stores are larger than a normal supermarket or a discount store, so the contact risk in aisles and at checkouts is significantly reduced.
  • Installation of Plexiglas partition screens at all checkouts to keep the risk of infection through direct contact as low as possible, both for employees at the checkouts and for customers.
  • In addition, paper or disinfecting tissues are available for disinfecting the shopping trolley handles. Signs with protective hygiene measures can be found at customer entrances and cash registers.
  • All employees are instructed in hygiene measures and regularly disinfect their work area. The cleaning frequency in the stores was increased.
  • Employees at the checkouts have the possibility to disinfect their hands directly at the checkout.
  • Employees at the head offices in the countries and regions particularly affected are encouraged to do their work from home. More than 2,000 employees of the METRO Campus companies in Düsseldorf are currently working from their home offices.

For financial year 2020/21, METRO’s financial performance will be impacted by the development of the Covid-19 pandemic. Its effects are difficult to estimate and strongly dependent on duration and intensity of Covid-19-related governmental restrictions to public life as well as widely available vaccinations. The Management Board therefore plans with different scenarios and updates them regularly. In line with observations in November and December 2020, the Management Board expects one month of full lock-down in the entire country portfolio will result in average sales losses of around €400 million equaling sales losses of approximately 1.5 percentage points of sales growth compared to previous year.

Following the business development in Q1 2020/21, the Management Board confirms the outlook for the financial year 2020/21, which was published in the Annual Report 2019/20: “Based on stable exchange rates and no adjustments to the portfolio METRO currently expects sales (both total sales and like-for-like) to be slightly below previous year. EBITDA adjusted is expected to decline by a mid-double-digit million euro amount.” This unchanged outlook thereby assumes governmental restrictions to public life to now last partially until the end of Q2 of financial year 2020/21 and a fast and substantial recovery of the hospitality and tourism industry thereafter.

METRO has a strong financial position. Over the last years, METRO has significantly reduced its net debt and has high and sustainable liquidity reserves. In addition, there are no bonds maturing until October 2021.

METRO has closed the disposal of Real and majority sale of METRO China and generated from both transactions around €1.9 billion in net cash inflow. The proceeds will strengthen the balance sheet, increase liquidity reserves, lay the foundation for dividend continuity and improve optionality for organic and inorganic investments.

For METRO it is a high priority to support its customers and to ensure that restaurateurs make it through these difficult times as good as possible. METRO supports HoReCa customers with several measures and initiatives, thereby strengthens the customer relationships and underscores METROs purpose „Your success is our business“. For example, digital programs have been used to provide a voucher generator (HilfeLokal.de, site only available in German) or an online ordering tool that can be easily activated via the free website. In addition, METRO countries support their customers in taking advantage of government aid by providing specific tips and information.

At the same time, METRO makes every effort to contribute to the food supply situation. This includes, amongst others, the cooperation with delivery operators in several countries. Together with partners, METRO delivers groceries to private households.

Further initiatives:

Sales share of Horeca (H), Trader (T) and SCO (S) customers in FY 2019/20

  • METRO: 42% (H) | 23% (T) | 34% (S)
  • Germany: 42% (H) | 13% (T) | 46% (S)
  • Western Europe (w/o Germany): 60% (H) | 17% (T) | 23% (S)
  • Russia: 14% (H) | 31% (T) | 55% (S)
  • Eastern Europe (w/o Russia): 31% (H) | 33% (T) | 36% (S)
  • Asia: 34% (H) | 36% (T) | 29% (S)

METRO assumes that this crisis is temporary in nature. Following the easing of restrictions, METRO also expects the hospitality industry to recover quickly, as the long-standing trend of increasing consumption of food outside home is likely to continue.

METRO bears responsibility for its 100,000 employees and their families worldwide. In order to secure jobs and the company's economic capacity to act, all possible options are therefore being examined to ensure that the company will survive the current challenging times. The possibility of using short-time work in places where no other acceptable solution can be found is therefore also being examined in individual companies or countries within METRO. This applies above all to areas where workloads are significantly lower, such as in our sales and distribution or depots. Of course, short-time work will only be introduced where no other justifiable solution can be found due to the effects of the Corona crisis and both the duration and scope will be limited as much as possible.

Status: 8 March 2021