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German retailer Metro to push expansion in India: Firm

The Economic Times:  May, 2014

New Delhi: German retailer Metro AG plans to have 50 wholesale stores in India by 2020 and make the country one of its 'focus expansion' markets alongside Russia, China and Turkey.

"India has always been an important future growth market of 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 centers by 2020," Olaf Koch, chairman of the management board of Metro AG, said in a statement on Monday.

The Dusseldorf-based company was the first global player to enter the cash-andcarry wholesale segment in India, back in India. It currently operates 16 outlets in the country.

Rajeev Bakshi, managing director at Metro Cash & Carry India, said, "We have been relentlessly consolidating our market position by translating our nuanced understanding of the customer into daily practices, tailored projects and innovations.

This provides a firm foundation for us to switch our expansion into the fast lane now." India opened up its multibrand retail market to foreign companies with several riders, including a free hand to state governments to shut their doors on such chains, in September 2012. But so far UK firm Tesco is the only international supermarket chain to have decided to come in.

Cash-and-carry, like retail, is a long-haul business with a longer break-even period. Even though foreign operators including Metro, American giant Walmart Stores Inc and French firm Carrefour report growing sales at their stores, companies are still not making money even after years of operations. Metro Cash & Carry India had made a loss of Rs 272 crore on a turnover ofRs 2,521 crore on an annualised basis for the fiscal year ended March 2013.