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Metro to double Indian cash and carry outlets
Our Bureau
Date of posting: 09-10-08
      German supermarket giant Metro is to double its number of cash and carry outlets in India, as its rivals gear up to take advantage of the fast-growing economy.

      Henry Birr, Metro vice-president of international affairs, said at a news conference that the company would invest US$120 million in at least four new wholesale cash and carry stores in India, which is seen by Metro as having the same growth potential as it does in China, where the retailer has 37 cash and carry outlets. The new outlets would be in the eastern state of West Bengal, where the retailer is waiting for the state to issue licences so it can deal in agricultural produce that it can source directly from farmers.

      Communists in West-Bengal have started again troubling private compnies which usually bring lots of benefits to workers. Tata therefore has already pulled its Nano-car factory out of the state. In regard to Metro, Forward Bloc state general secretary Ashok Ghosh was quoted saying that "under no circumstances the company would be allowed to enter into retail business and contract farming", obviously not being aware of the fact that Metro is not pursuing neither a retail nor a contract farming business. Metro simply wants to buy agricultual products directly from farmers or their cooperatives, without having to deal with bureaucrats and middlemen in the government sanctioned agri-yards. The problem is known to the central government, therefore a role model AMPC act had been drafted a few years back. Farmers would benefit normally when allowed to sell directly to the modern wholesale-retailing system through higher prices and secured contracts.

      Metro's existing Indian cash and carry outlets are in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, where it has two shops. Metro was the first entrant into the cash& carry business in India ad is followed by Wal-Mart and Tesco which have structured Indian ventures in the same cash & carry field with local partners adressing the retail segment.

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