September 19, 2018 / 7:22 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 2-Ceconomy shares melt as hot summer hits profit outlook

* Ceconomy cuts profit goals for 2017/18 year

* Says may take longer to reach medium-term targets

* Shares touch record low (Adds trader comment)

BERLIN, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Shares in Ceconomy fell on Wednesday after Europe’s biggest consumer electronics retailer cut its profit goals for the 2017/18 financial year, citing poor trading as an unusually hot summer put people off buying TVs and other gadgets.

Ceconomy, which runs more than 1,000 Media Markt and Saturn stores, became the second German retailer to give such a warning this week after Zalando, Europe’s biggest online only fashion retailer, also blamed the long summer for a cut to its outlook which sent its shares sliding on Tuesday.

In addition to the hot weather, Ceconomy said it had also been slower than it hoped to execute strategic initiatives in its core German market, where it is seeking to promote ecommerce and sell services to better compete with the likes of Amazon.

Ceconomy might also take longer to reach its medium-term target to improve profitability, Chief Executive Pieter Haas conceded in a conference call with analysts.

“We underestimated the challenges,” Haas said. “We have no doubt that we will be successful. But we must see if we need more time to achieve that.”

Ceconomy had previously said it plans to lift its operating margin towards 5 percent in the next three to five years, from 3.2 percent in the 2016/17 fiscal year.

Shares in Ceconomy touched a record low in early trade and were down 5.9 percent at 6.31 euros by 0928 GMT.

Market watchers said the strategic problems were more plausible than the weather: “This looks more like an ongoing earnings and margin problem due to lacking execution of strategic initiatives,” one local trader said.

Late on Tuesday, Ceconomy said it now expects earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in the financial year ending this month to drop to 680 to 710 million euros ($793-$828 million) from 714 million before special items a year earlier.

Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) will decrease to 460 to 490 million from 494 million. In terms of EBITDA and EBIT, Ceconomy previously expected a year-on-year increase in the low to medium single-digit percentage range.

It said it still expected a slight increase in revenues and a slight improvement in net working capital in 2017/18.

Ceconomy split from the Metro retail group last year. German investment group Haniel owns stakes in both companies but their share prices have sagged since then, dashing hopes that the separation would help boost their performance.

This month, Haniel said it could sell its 25 percent stake in Ceconomy if the right offer came along. (Reporting by Emma Thomasson and Matthias Inverardi, editing by Riham Alkousa, Maria Sheahan and Alexandra Hudson)

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