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Going east: Metro Cash & Carry

Pallavi Roy | March 12, 2005

After a retail initiation in Bangalore, German retail giant Metro Cash and Carry is all set to expand its operations in India.

And the city likely to host the next Metro outlets is Kolkata.

"Kolkata is certainly on our fast-track radar," says Harsh Bahadur, head of operations at Metro India. The company is in the thick of a feasibility study to put up at least two centres, maybe even three, around the city and has already identified two or three potential store areas close to the city.

The biggest plus point from Metro's perspective would be sourcing of fresh produce. Districts around Kolkata supply most of the city's fresh vegetables. This is the opportunity Metro is looking to tap. The company is even looking at buying rice from the adjoining districts that are primarily paddy producers.

A time frame for the commencement of operations hasn't been put down as Metro wants to be sure of its supply chain as well as take its time in understanding the local trade.

Metro is likely to invest Rs 70 crore in each of its distribution centres. Given the hub and spoke model through which they operate, it is likely the company will plan for at least two centres.

Bahadur says a few issues -- licences for dealing in agricultural produce and distribution of liquor -- need to be sorted out. WBIDC managing director Gopal Krishna has said Metro's biggest benefit should come sourcing fresh produce, which accounts for 30 per cent of Metro's revenues.

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