Metro Cash & Carry

Going global

At any Metro Cash & Carry store, customers can find a comprehensive product range, which is tailored to meet local market requirements

The Metro Cash & Carry success story began in 1964 with the opening of its first wholesale outlet in Germany. Today, the company is represented in 29 countries with Metro and Makro Cash & Carry stores at more than 600 locations. The organisation offers its commercial customers up to 50,000 different products from a single source.

Thomas M. Hübner, CEO of Metro Cash & Carry comments: “As one of the world’s most important companies in self-serve wholesale, we systematically address the needs of our customers. In keeping with our motto ‘From professionals for professionals’, we offer an extensive range of high-quality food and non-food products at competitive prices. With efficient logistics and a business concept that can be adapted flexibly to the requirements of diverse markets and locations, we are actively setting the scene for sustainable growth.”

With more than 100,000 employees worldwide, Metro Cash & Carry is a sales division of the Metro Group – one of the most important international retailing and trading companies in the world. Throughout 2006, Metro Cash & Carry achieved sales figures of approximately 30 billion euros and the business has now continued this positive trend throughout 2007.

The company has experienced particularly high sales growth in Asia and the business is aiming for fast expansion in this area in the future. As a result, Metro has identified opportunities for up to eight new stores in greater Tokyo in the next two years.

Commenting on the proposed expansion, James Scott, regional operating officer for Metro Cash & Carry Asia explains: “We analysed the sophisticated Japanese market and consumption habits very thoroughly and we see a great deal of potential for the wholesale business. Within the last few years, we have continuously adapted our concept to the special needs of our customers in Japan. Now the course is set and we are very confident that the expansion will proceed successfully.”

He adds: “The Japanese customer is probably the most sophisticated and demanding in the world when it comes down to food quality and freshness.” As a result of this, a decisive success factor for Metro Cash & Carry is the specialised concept, which is closely tailored to the requirements of food and food-related businesses like hotels, restaurants and caterers. The company has aligned its assortments and services, as well as the store layout to the specific needs of the Japanese client.

Internationalisation is a core element of the Metro Cash & Carry strategy. It has played a decisive role in the company’s rise to becoming the worldwide market leader in self-service wholesale. Metro examines potential market entries with great care. Before setting foot in a new country, an intensive advance assessment is carried out. The objective is to staff a new store as quickly as possible with local employees, and to qualify them in the company’s own intensive training programmes. This not only provides the company with local knowledge but also contributes greatly towards the local economy.

With internationalisation in mind, Metro Cash & Carry has recently opened its first wholesale centre in Pakistan. Based in Lahore, this new centre will mean the Metro Group is now represented in a total of 31 countries – with Metro Cash & Carry alone running operations in 29 countries. Pakistan has experienced positive economical development over the last few years and the country offers great potential, as well as good growth perspectives for the self-service wholesale concept of Cash & Carry.

Like in Tokyo, the product range, services and architecture of the building have been tailored to meet the specific needs of local customers. In addition, the new Lahore site will bring many benefits to the local economy. The company will be using local suppliers to source its stock and it will also employ approximately 500 people across Pakistan. Furthermore, in December the second Metro Cash & Carry location will open its gates in Islamabad, and in addition the company sees the potential for another ten wholesale centres across the area.

Every year, new Metro Cash & Carry stores are opened and new markets entered. About half of the world’s population, live in countries where the company is already present. The main focus for Metro over the last few years has been on Eastern Europe and Asia. Two-thirds of all new business locations are established in these growth regions, with special concentration on expansion in China and Russia.

At the end of October the organisation reached a milestone when it opened its 600th store worldwide in the Siberian town of Novosibirsk in Russia. The new location is the 36th wholesale store in Russia and marks an important step in the company’s rapid expansion in this country. Metro’s remarkable growth over the years would have not been possible without the pioneering spirit and entrepreneurialcourage of the company’s workforce. Thomas Hübner concludes: “What we have achieved over the years was only possible through the great efforts and outstanding performance of our employees.”