German retail group Metro is to withdraw its cash & carry activities from a number of countries. The resources this frees up, will be invested in a reorganisation of the company in home country Germany. The chain also wants to focus more on e-commerce, a trend Metro has missed so far.
Withdrawal from multiple countries
According to Lebensmittel Zeitung, Metro is to withdraw from Bulgaria, Egypt, Kazakhstan and Japan, where Metro suffers from severe losses. Earlier the cash & carry activities in the United Kingdom were also sold. A retreat from China would not be up for discussion: Metro is planning further investments in that region in the future.
The decrease of the number of countries where Metro – an umbrella company for Makro, Saturn and Media Markt – is active is in part forced: the company has insufficient financial power to support the expansion in 28 countries at the same time.
The most work is to be done in Germany: in the first quarter of 2013 sales of cash & carry dropped by 4.0%. To see the company grow again, management has set sixteen priorities, such as simplifying processes to finding new synergies.
New reshuffle at top of Metro
The planned reorganisations go hand in hand with a shuffle of management: Antonio Baptista of Real gets transferred to the parent company to get the slacking non-food department in order. He will have to do this country by country and while reporting directly to CEO Olaf Koch, who has also taken control of cash & carry.
The company also wants to expand e-commerce as one of the pillars for future growth. That will not be an easy task, as it could cannibalise a part of the existing activities in the shops.