German retail giant Metro has reported a double digit fall in third quarter (Q3) of 2012.

The retailer has posted a 35% decline in profit after-tax to €77m, as against EUR190m for the same period in the previous year.

The firm said in the third quarter 2012 sales increased slightly, inching up by 0.6% to €15.9bn.

The firm posted earnings before interest, tax (EBIT) and special items of €398m.

During the period from January to September 2012, sales of METRO Group climbed by 1.5% to €47.4m, compared to the same period a year ago.

Metro noted that the drop in earnings reflects the impact of the general economic situation in Southern Europe and parts of Eastern Europe.

Metro is a food, apparel and electronic products retailing company. The German chain opeartes through various retail formats comprising cash and carry warehouses, hypermarkets, consumer electronic stores and departmental stores under banners such as Metro Cash & Carry, Real, Media Markt and Saturn and Galeria Kaufhof .

Sales in Metro Cash & Carry division from January to September 2012 climbed by nearly 40% to over €1.6bn and group own brand sales grew by 10% to €5.5bn.

In Germany, sales generated during the period from January to September 2012 grew by 0.5% to €17.8bn and international sales rise by 2.2% to €29.5bn.

Sales in Eastern Europe generated during January to September 2012 grew by 3.8% to €12.6bn, while Western Europe sales dropped by 2.9% to €14.3bn.

In the Asia/Africa region, sales increased significantly by 28.7% to €2.7bn.

Metro expects a rise in sales for the full year and EBIT before special items to come in at around €2bn.

The German chain currently operates over 2,200 outlets in 32 countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. It employs 280,000 people from 180 nations.