Almost half of Metro's sales are now generated outside its home market, revealed chief executive Hans-Joachim Körber at the German giant's full-year results presentation. Five years ago, less than 5% of Metro's sales came from overseas. In 2001, this figure rose to 44%, and will increase to over 50% in the "medium term," said Körber. "The process of consistent internationalisation is one of the major assets to guarantee our company's growth." International cash & carry was once again the key growth engine for Metro, which plans moves into India and Japan this year. Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Belarus and Ukraine are next on the list. There is also great potential for further expansion in China, where Metro already operates 15 stores. Metro this week opened its first outlet in Vietnam, where it would play a "pioneering role" working with local producers to help them find new markets through Metro's international distribution network, added Körber. Despite hefty start up costs from rapid expansion into new markets, the C&C division reported double digit rises in operating profit as well as healthy sales growth in 2001. In Germany, the Real hypermarkets performed well in the notoriously price-conscious German market, while the Extra supermarkets cut operating losses from E40m in 2000 to E14m in 2001. "After years of stagnation in German retailing, fiscal year 2001 was a particularly difficult entrepreneurial challenge," said Körber. "I am therefore delighted to report that Metro was able to end the year successfully against the general market trend." Consumer electronics showed an "outstanding level of profitability" although it failed to reach last year's dizzy heights. Full-year group operating profit before depreciation and goodwill rose 10.3% to E1.13bn on sales up 5.5% to E49.5bn ­ in line with analysts' expectations. {{NEWS }}