Metro Group establishes presence in Serbia

Related tags Retailing Hypermarket

Metro Group has opened its first cash & carry outlet in Serbia
and Montenegro - the first of many, according to the company.

Metro Group has opened its first cash & carry outlet in Serbia and Montenegro near Belgrade on 3 January 2005. The 8,500 square metre outlet offers a range of 20,000 products, of which around 90 per cent are provided by Serbian manufacturers and distributors.

Investment for the first store has so far amounted to €15 million and, according to Metro Group, up to six stores are planned in Serbia and Montenegro in the next few years.

"As a result of our strict expansion strategy, we are now the most internationally active retailer and wholesaler worldwide," said Hans-Joachim Körber, CEO of the Metro Group.

"This is also proven by the fact that the Metro Group generates more than half of its annual sales abroad. We see great potential and an impressive growth perspective in the Serbian market."

According to market analyst M+M Planet Retail, the move is part of Metro's strategy to increase its position as one of the world's most international retailers, with a presence in 30 countries. It has opened stores in an extensive array of European countries and has moved ambitiously forward into promising developing markets such as Vietnam, China and India.

Metro has traditionally set up its cash & carry stores in developing markets where independent retailers were in the majority, which would constitute its major customer base. In this context, it sees itself as a pioneer in the embryonic retail sectors of developing markets.

Once the market matures and the hypermarket and supermarket operators move in, Metro cash & carry stores shift their attention to the horeca sector and private consumers, a trend that has been evident in its Western European markets.

In Eastern Europe, Metro established its cash & carries first and later moved in with its Praktiker DIY and Media Markt consumer electronics stores.

It will be several years before Metro will be able to make this move in markets such as China and India, for example, but it has already announced this development for Russia. The first Real hypermarket is to open this year, with Media Markt stores expected to follow soon. In Serbia and Montenegro, Metro will most likely find opportunities for DIY stores and hypermarkets in the medium term.

Related topics Market trends

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