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The sales surge was primarily due to Arcandor's acquisition of Thomas Cook, which now names the travel division that currently contributes more than 60 percent of group sales.
Arcandor AG, the renamed holding company of the former KarstadtQuelle Group, changed its fiscal year from Oct. 1 to Sept. 31, effective as of October 2007. The group, which released preliminary first-quarter sales figures, will release a full financial report for the quarter in February.
For the first quarter ended Dec. 31 of fiscal 2008, sales of the Karstadt core department stores declined 8.4 percent to 1.13 billion euros, or $1.64 billion, from 1.23 billion euros, or $1.59 billion, a year earlier. Arcandor attributed the drop in part to the high level of purchases in anticipation of the increase in Germany's value added tax in 2007. Karstadt has been actively refurbishing and repositioning its department stores. It said the converted stores, especially those in the premium group, performed above average. The repositioning is expected to be concluded during fiscal year 2008.
The newly named Primondo mail order division continued its recovery, increasing sales "according to plan" in the quarter. Adjusted sales grew 2.9 percent to 1.22 billion euros, or $1.77 billion, compared with 1.18 billion euros, or $1.52 billion, last year.
At this time, Arcandor said it is "confident of further increasing adjusted [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization] in the [fiscal] 2008 financial year." The company also confirmed its fiscal 2009 sales and EBITDA targets of 23 billion euros and 1.3 billion euros, respectively.
Arcandor said it plans to actively continue to consolidate its three core business segments, and it noted opportunities to further increase the group's value "via selected M&A activities."