Difficult weather conditions slowed Metro Group's sales growth in the fourth quarter of 2010 but the firm reiterated its full-year earnings forecast.

The Germany-based retailer today (11 January) booked a 1.6% increase in group sales for the three-month period to reach EUR19.7bn (US$25.47bn). The figure, Metro said, was affected by weather conditions during the quarter.

Sales in Germany dropped 2.6% in the quarter to EUR7.9bn, while sales in Western Europe grew by 2.8%. Eastern Europe experienced sales growth of 7.1%.

However, Metro said fourth quarter like-for-like sales were "better than in the first nine months", although the company, one of the world's top four retailers, did not disclose specific figures.

"Looking back, 2010 was a successful year for Metro Group. We pushed our efficiency- and value-enhancing programme Shape 2012 consistently," said CEO Dr Eckhard Cordes. "Thereby, we have also laid the foundation for accelerating international expansion."

Full-year sales grew by 2.6% to EUR67.3bn. Like-for-like sales in 2010 declined by 1.7%.

The firm reiterated its full-year EBIT expectations of EUR2.3bn, before special items.