Metro Has 'No Plans' To Sell Real Hypermarket Chain: CEO

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Metro Has 'No Plans' To Sell Real Hypermarket Chain: CEO

Retailer Metro has no plans to sell its German hypermarket chain Real, chief executive Olaf Koch has said in an interview.

Metro, a sprawling conglomerate, has spent several years restructuring and selling businesses, such as its Kaufhof department stores, to focus on its cash-and-carry business and Media-Saturn electronics chain.

It has split its food business from its consumer electronics business, which it has renamed Ceconomy.

"We are now at a point in which we can say: the company is successfully set up for the future," Koch told WirtschaftsWoche (WiWo) magazine when asked how long Metro would keep Real.

Further Development

"Now it's about successfully developing Real further and boosting the value potential of the new business model, the rapidly growing online market place and the more than 70 of our own properties," he said.


A trial of a "market hall" concept at a Real store in Krefeld, Germany has boosted customer traffic by 30 percent, Koch said.

About 30 of Metro's 280 Real stores could be suited to the market hall model over the medium-term, while other stores could incorporate individual aspects of the model, he said.

Strike Action

His comments come as labour union Verdi calls on 34,000 workers at Real in Germany to strike in protest at a wage agreement that the struggling chain pursued as a way to cut staff costs.

“The approximately 34,000 colleagues need security for themselves and their families,” commented Verdi secretary Sabine Zimmer.


“The employees at Real work hard every day and are threatened by mismanagement, poor wages and, later, old-age poverty.”

In its financial year to Sept. 30, Metro's 282 Real outlets posted a 3.1 percent decline in sales and a 24 percent drop in operating profit.

Russia Commitment

Koch also said in the interview that Metro remained committed to its Russian business despite a poor performance, which has weighed on its share price.

"Metro Russia continues to be a cash cow in our portfolio. The Russian market offers enormous growth potential," he said.


Metro has overhauled management at its Russia business and is introducing bulk discounts to attract more independent traders and restaurant owners.

News by Reuters, edited by ESM. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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