Wholesale giant Metro has announced the decision to discontinue its foodservice distribution business in Myanmar, citing volatile investment and business environment in the Southeast Asian nation.
The company will close operations in Myanmar by the end of October 2021.
The economic framework and prospects for Metro's professional customers have been hampered by the COVID-19 restrictions and have further deteriorated since early 2021.
The conditions for a thriving and profitable food wholesale business in the country are severely compromised, the company noted.
Kubilay Özerkan, operating partner responsible for the Metro businesses in Asia, said, "We made this decision with regret because we started 2019 with positive expectations in this interesting market and were able to quickly build a stable customer base.
Metro added that it would assist its employees through the transition in a fair and responsible manner, in line with employer practice standards.
"It is also regrettable that we have to part with our committed and highly motivated employees, to whom we express our appreciation for their hard work. Unfortunately, the significant changes in business conditions in Myanmar give us no other option than to cease the business."
Launched in 2019, Metro Myanmar is a relatively small, virtual business that runs entirely through e-commerce and delivery systems.
It operates from a modern, 5,900 square-metre warehouse in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone (TSEZ) outside the metropolis of Yangon.
The business currently serves around 7,500 customers and employs 131 people. In 2019/20, the business generated €7 million in annual sales.
In July, Metro AG said it expects sales to decline by between 0.5% and 3.5% in its current financial year, ahead of the group's previous forecast of a decline of between 3% and 6%.