Metro Cash & Carry is Well Established in India

Headquartered in Dusseldorf, Germany, Metro Cash and Carry launched its business-to-business wholesale concept in India in 2003. The company is a one-stop solution for business customers such as mom and pop grocery stores, small retailers, hotels, restaurants and caterers, and offices.

Sanjay Kumar, journalist for IndiaRetailing, spoke to managing director and CEO of Metro Cash & Carry India, Arvind Mediratta regarding many aspects of the company’s functions in India.

Metro Cash and Carry MD and CEO Arvind Mediratta

Arvind Mediratta

Excerpts from the interview:

 On the opportunities and challenges of doing business in India

Mediratta: The Indian market is extensive and diverse. This provides us with both opportunities and challenges. In India, what works in the north will not work in the south because of the penetration of regional and local brands. We have to localize according to the market.

On expanding the company’s footprint

Mediratta: Since the organized wholesale market in India is growing at an even higher rate than modern retail, there is no dearth of opportunities in the country. Recently, we revamped our India operations and split it into North-East and South-West, to sharpen our regional focus. We will continue with our focus on these markets while also keeping an eye on emerging markets in Tier II and III cities. A cluster approach to markets is the best way to grow the business.

On customizing solutions and services to serve the diverse needs of specific regions

Mediratta: We have a simple strategy to suit diverse needs – we listen to our customers. Goods are sourced locally and are tailor-made to meet the specific demands of the region. We are constantly engaged in customer interaction to ensure that we understand the pulse of the market and provide products and services accordingly.

On the potential for growth of big box retailers like Metro in India

Mediratta: India has been growing at the fastest pace in its economic history. The growth potential has increased manifold. The Government’s decision to allow 100 per cent FDI in food retail is a welcome step. The infrastructure and supply chain is improving and the Internet has demolished the aspiration lag between big and small cities. The Indian retail and wholesale market offers great potential and bright prospects for international and domestic players.

On Metro’s retail ecosystem

Mediratta: Metro Cash & Carry is the country’s first HACCP-certified wholesale retailer. We ensure that all our 23 stores’ in-store activities, as also procedures involving sourcing, supply chain, stocking, and point of sale comply with the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene. All our suppliers are given systematic training on meeting customer requirements in terms of food quality, safety and traceability.

Fair prices and guaranteed and transparent payments are credited directly into a farmer’s account in less than a day. Metro regularly conducts Trader Support and Partnership programs. We share best practices with small grocers in planogramming, assortment planning, store layout and inventory planning to improve their profitability.

On the next big change that is coming in retail

Mediratta: Whether online or offline, buying and selling cannot afford to remain mono-channel any longer. Only those players can envision a long and rewarding future who are able to fold into the Omnichannel approach.

I foresee a huge proliferation in the number of categories and sub-categories with customers becoming more and more experimental.
a) Health & Wellness: Organic food, health supplements, fitness equipment, apparel and personal care products
b) Experience: Media, travel, entertainment, home, gaming, sports and luxury categories
c) Staying Connected: Highly integrated smart homes, smart kitchens, telecom, transportation and IT products
d) A Fair World: Socially, environmentally, and ethically fair products such as cage-free eggs and vegan products

On the difference between 0perations in India vis-a-vis the rest of the world

Mediratta: The Indian market is very different from the other countries where Metro operates in. To compete in a fiercely competitive market with a high real estate cost and a Maximum Retail Price regime requires one to be very nimble and cost efficient. We learned our lessons in the Indian market very early and started adapting ourselves to suit the customer needs.

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Posted on by Gunjan Bagla
Gunjan Bagla
California-based management consultant Gunjan Bagla runs Amritt, a consulting firm helping American companies to succeed in India. Amritt is the trusted advisor for India market research, India business development, India market entry, Global Engineering, Global Technology Scouting, India R&D and Open Innovation. Gunjan is author of "Business in 21st Century India: How to Profit Today from Tomorrow’s Most Exciting Market" (Hachette Book Group, 2008), Amazon's top rated title on the subject. He has appeared as the India Expert on BBC Television, Bloomberg TV, Fox Cable Business and has been quoted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Hollywood Reporter and Business Week for his expertise on India.

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