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World Business Quick Take



German sales slip 1.8%

German retail sales slipped 1.8 percent in June from the previous month, disappointing expectations for a slight increase, provisional data released on Monday by the national statistics office showed. Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had penciled in a modest rise of 0.5 percent for the biggest European economy. In May, sales fell 1.3 percent after gaining 1.4 percent in April, figures from the Destatis office showed. The office based its estimate for June on seven German states that represent around 76 percent of the country’s total retail sales. On a 12-month basis, sales shed 1.6 percent at constant prices, Destatis said in a statement.


Metro bounces back

Germany’s biggest retailer, Metro, on Monday reported a second-quarter profit despite a drop in sales. Metro AG said it had reversed a 453 million euro (US$645.3 million) loss in the second quarter last year to post a net profit of 48 million euros in the three months to the end of June. Metro, which has operations in Asia, the Middle East and Eastern and Western Europe, said it was retaining its medium-term sales and earnings forecasts. This, despite the group reporting a 3.8 percent fall in revenue to 15.3 billion euros, with revenue hit by lower food prices and a weak performance by currencies in Eastern Europe.


CEO dies after triathlon

Calvin Lee, chief executive officer for Asia at Deutsche Telekom AG, died after he took part in a triathlon in Singapore yesterday, a company official said. Lee, 42, was pronounced dead at the Changi General Hospital at 2.35pm, the Straits Times reported. Paramedics and doctors failed to revive Lee after he was rescued from the sea during the swim segment of the Osim Singapore International Triathlon, the newspaper said. The cause of death is being investigated, the Singapore newspaper cited the organizers as saying.


Trade surplus continues

The country posted its second consecutive trade surplus in May as falling orders prompted companies to cut output and import fewer raw materials. The surplus was 92 million euros, compared with a surplus of 683 million euros the month before and a surplus of 186 million euros a year earlier, Finnish Customs said on its Web site yesterday. The country’s industry, which has seen output plunge more than 20 percent in four out of five months this year, is purchasing fewer raw materials abroad, causing both imports and exports to drop. New industrial orders plummeted an annual 40 percent in May. Exports plunged 41 percent to 3.43 billion euros in May from a year earlier, the same as the decline in imports, which fell to 3.34 billion euros.


Panasonic books net loss

Japan’s Panasonic Corp yesterday announced a net loss of ¥52.98 billion (US$560 million) for the second quarter, blaming weak sales of electronic goods during the recession. Panasonic, which made a profit of ¥73.03 billion in the same period last year, left unchanged its forecast for a loss of ¥195 billion in the full business year to next March. The group, which changed its corporate name from Matsushita Electric Industrial in October, is cutting 15,000 jobs and closing dozens of plants as it struggles to recover from its first annual loss in six years.

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