German retailer METRO GROUP has added India as a key market for expansion to its roster of focus countries—that include Russia, China and Turkey—and has set a target to more than triple its network of wholesale retail outlets in India to 50 by 2020. Presently, METRO runs 16 distribution centres in 12 cities across the country.
METRO Cash and Carry India Pvt Ltd started in India in 2001 and was the first foreign retailer to open its outlet in the country. It has been running its wholesale retail outlets for over a decade.
"India has always been an important future growth market for METRO and we have seen continuous like-for-like growth recently in India. Now we decide to inject extra momentum into our expansion course there to operate 50 distribution centres by 2020,” said Olaf Koch, chairman of the management board of METRO AG and CEO of METRO Cash & Carry.
METRO GROUP, one of the largest international retailing companies, operates around 2,200 stores in 32 countries and has a headcount of around 265,000 employees.
During the financial year 2012-13 (pro forma), it generated sales of about €66 billion. The retail giant operates in its respective market segments: METRO/MAKRO Cash & Carry–self-service wholesale, Media Markt and Saturn–Europe-based consumer electronics retailing, Real hypermarkets and Galeria Kaufhof department stores.
This comes just a month after global rival Walmart set a similar expansion target for its wholesale retail business in India.
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is planning to open 50 cash and carry or wholesale retail outlets in India over the next four to five years. It already has 20 wholesale stores in India under the brand Best Price Modern Wholesale. These stores are not open to consumers but restricted to other retailers.
The firm has been trying to rebuild its India operations after buying out its local JV partner Bharti Enterprises in the wholesale retail business and overhauled its top management in the country late last year. Bharti Enterprises’ retail arm separately runs physical B2C retail outlets.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)