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German retail Group Metro plans major expansion in India

German consumer goods trader Metro is keen to grow in emerging markets to make up for shrinking sales in western Europe.

Dusseldorf-based Metro plans to operate 50 wholesale stores in India by 2020, up from 16 now, as part of the firm's emerging markets focused growth strategy. The consumer goods giant had worldwide sales of 67 billion euros in 2012. Nearly a third of the company's sales are in emerging markets.

The company's wholesale division, Metro Cash and Carry, has been active in India since 2003. Its core customers in India include small shopkeepers, as well as hotels, restaurants, caterers, and other businesses.

The company's Indian expansion plans are subject to political risk. India's federal government is protective of its $500-billion domestic retail sector. It gave foreign supermarket chains permission to establish operations in 2012, but last month, the Bhartiya Janata Party, widely expected to lead India's next government, said it would ban foreign supermarkets if it comes to power. For now, it's unclear whether such a ban would affect Metro's plans to build more cash-and-carry wholesale markets.

nz/ng (Reuters, AFP)