Europe’s fourth-biggest retailer, Metro AG, said it wants India to become one of its “focus expansion countries”, alongside Russia, China and Turkey. “We have seen continuous like-for-like growth recently in India. Now we decide to inject extra momentum into our expansion course there,” Metro CEO Olaf Koch confirmed.
The company is planning to have 50 wholesale stores in the country by 2020, up from 16 now. Metro has been active in India with its cash-and-carry business since 2003 and is one of the few foreign retailers operating in the country. Besides stores in major cities such as Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kolkatta, the company has chosen a regional expansion to Tier 2 cities such as Indore, Jaipur and Vijaywada. It has also built up a geographic focus in one state, Punjab, with stores in Amritsar, Chandigarh, Jalandhar and Ludhiana.
In 2012, the Indian government gave foreign supermarket chains the green light to enter its $500 billion retail sector. Full foreign ownership of supermarkets that sell directly to consumers is restricted. Metro sells goods to small shopkeepers, which dominate India retail market.