3.1 Macroeconomic and sector-specific parameters

The following description must always be considered explicitly in the context of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The underlying data were collected up to the closing date of 2 November 2021.

Global economy

The global economy was impacted by the ongoing pandemic in financial year 2020/21. Another wave of infection spread in the first quarter. As a result, restrictive countermeasures with negative consequences for social and economic life were (re)introduced in many countries. The first vaccination programmes were also rolled out in this period. As vaccination rates progressed, the restrictions were partially or even broadly lifted in the course of the year. The effects of viral mutations, such as the Delta variant, remained largely within manageable limits. Overall, most economies had not yet returned to their pre-pandemic performance levels by the end of the financial year.

This development is reflected in the key economic figures: with 4.3% real global economic growth, there was a clear upswing in financial year 2020/21 after the restrictions were gradually lifted. Extensive economic stimulus programmes and labour market measures supported the development. However, economic output was not at the level that could have been achieved if the pandemic had been completely overcome. This is especially true for Western European countries in the METRO portfolio. In the course of the financial year, inflation increased more strongly than in . Food and hygiene expenses, logistics costs and shortages of raw materials contributed to this development.

Economic sectors that were particularly affected by the pandemic, such as tourism and hospitality as well as sports and cultural events, recovered late in the financial year. As restrictions were increasingly eased, a sustained positive trend set in. Food wholesalers also benefited from this upswing.


At the beginning of Q1 2020/21, the German economy faced a renewed wave of infections. This and the resulting far-reaching countermeasures had a significant economic impact into H2 2020/21. As the vaccination rate increased and the number of infections fell, the countermeasures were eased or ended. An economic recovery became visible in all relevant key figures, such as higher private consumption, an increase in imports and exports of goods and services, and an unemployment rate below 6%. Economic stimulus and labour market measures, some of which were substantial, contributed to the recovery. The inflation rate increased significantly to around 3.8% in the past financial year, which was also attributable to expenditure on food. Among other things, this development was driven by the end of the temporary VAT cut and the shortage of supplies of important raw materials and production materials. Overall, the real economic growth for the reporting period was around 1.3%. Potential negative consequences of Brexit for German economic output were not yet fully apparent due to the simultaneous effects of the pandemic.

The hospitality industry and the event and tourism industry were severely impacted by the pandemic. However, a rapid recovery set in after restrictions were eased and partially lifted in the second half of the year. In Q3 and Q4 2020/21, sales were already above those of the previous year, but still below pre-pandemic levels. Food wholesalers also benefited from this development.

Western Europe

In the Western European countries, the number of infections rose again at the beginning of the financial year. This increase was initially met with the (re)introduction of governmental countermeasures; however, they were quickly relaxed again as the vaccination rate progressed in the course of the financial year. The national economies of the METRO countries in Western Europe grew by 2.7% in real terms in financial year 2020/21, but generally still lagged behind the pre-pandemic level. This is particularly obvious in the large, tourism-driven countries: in Spain, economic growth was 2% in financial year 2020/21 (2019/20: −8.2%), in France 4% (2019/20: −6.7%) and in Italy 2.7% (2019/20: −7.3%).

The economic development has been similar in the Western European countries: a renewed economic slump in Q1 2020/21 was followed by a clear upward trend, evident in the relevant economic indicators. Private consumption as well as imports and exports increased, while the unemployment rate remained relatively stable – but at a comparatively higher level in Spain and Italy. Only the production of goods was slowed down by global supply shortages of raw materials and production materials. As a result, inflation increased quite significantly in the Western European countries, among other things also due to increased food prices. The hospitality industry developed positively from Q3 onwards compared to the previous year, but remained below pre-pandemic levels.


The Russian economy grew by 3% in real terms in financial year 2020/21. The restrictions introduced as a response to the pandemic were less severe than in Western Europe despite comparable infection figures and lower vaccination rates. Private consumption as well as imports and exports developed very positively from H2 2020/21. Raw material extraction and construction, driven by government subsidies, contributed significantly to growth. Oil production was relatively lower due to decisions regarding production restrictions by the OPEC+ countries. The unemployment rate remained at a low level below 6% and inflation increased significantly.

The impact of the economic development on the sector was mixed. The traditional and independent small grocery stores recorded a decline in sales that was roughly on a par with previous years. By contrast, modern small-format food retailers benefited both during the restriction phase and afterwards. The modern small-format grocery shops also include those operated by METRO’s franchisees under the Fasol brand. Since Q2 2020/21, domestic consumption in the hospitality sector also developed positively and in nominal terms was around pre-pandemic levels in Q4 2020/21.

Eastern Europe

The other Eastern European countries also experienced an increase in infections at the beginning of the financial year followed by recovery in the further course. The approximately 4.3% economic growth compared to the previous year reflects the positive development of private consumption, imports and exports as well as industrial production. The labour market remained stable, even though the inflation rate increased significantly. In Turkey, economic restrictions were lifted completely during the financial year, resulting in a significant growth stimulus, although the exchange rate remained weak and inflation was very high.

Tourist-driven countries such as Croatia and Turkey also reported increasingly positive hospitality sales, although not quite yet at pre-pandemic levels. Food retail sales, adjusted for inflation, remained at about the same level as the previous year and well above pre-pandemic levels.


The impact of the pandemic was somewhat delayed in the Asian countries of the METRO portfolio, with China being the positive exception. A recovery of the healthcare systems after the wave of infections in the winter of 2020/21 was followed by a resurgence of infections, mainly due to the new Delta variant. This led to particularly high infection figures in India, exacerbated by low vaccination rates –, a development that continued until the end of the reporting period. The economy in Asia grew by 6.9% in real terms compared to the previous financial year, mainly driven by the development in China (+8.9%). In India, the economy initially also recovered strongly after the first lockdown in winter 2020, but then collapsed again in April due to a rise in infection figures in Q3 2020/21. The other Asian countries were on a (moderate) growth path. Private consumer spending still performed very well in Q1 2020/21, but declined or stagnated during the rest of the financial year. The unemployment rate and inflation remained stable in most countries. Industrial production also exhibited a positive trend.

The hospitality industry experienced a positive development across all countries and was even above pre-pandemic levels in nominal terms (with the exception of Japan). On the other hand, food retailing has seen heterogeneous development across countries. In general, sales in the sector declined somewhat compared to the and in some cases remained slightly below the pre-pandemic level.

Development of gross domestic product in important world regions and Germany Change in % compared to the previous year










Western Europe (excl. Germany)






Eastern Europe (excl. Russia)






Real GDP growth based on USD and adjusted for purchasing power – except for ‘World’. The values are based on the financial year. Source: Oxford Economics.


The previous year’s figures may slightly deviate from the Annual Report 2019/20, since retrospective corrections are being made by the data provider.



Previous year
Period of 12 months that is usually cited as a reference for statements in the annual report and refers to the financial year preceding the reporting year.
The term ‘Traders’ at METRO refers to the customer group of independent resellers such as operators of small grocery stores and kiosks.
Previous year
Period of 12 months that is usually cited as a reference for statements in the annual report and refers to the financial year preceding the reporting year.