METRO Cash & Carry has today inaugurated its worldwide 750th wholesale market in the south-western Chinese city of Chongqing which is one the largest municipalities in the world with over 30 million inhabitants. Ahead of its 50th anniversary in 2014, the German wholesaler aims for further extension of its network that is already present in 29 countries serving more than 20 million customers.
"We are delighted to celebrate this milestone opening which marks the success of the company's continuous international expansion. The ever-growing sales network enables us to deliver better service and more value to our customers. Such an amazing city of Chongqing is thereby a fitting location to host this landmark event", commented Olaf Koch, Chairman of the Management Board of METRO GROUP and CEO of METRO Cash & Carry.
Having entered China in 1996, the continuous efforts of METRO, or Mai De Long as it's locally known, to grow and adjust itself to the diversified customer landscape in the Middle Kingdom have in recent years paid off with a significant sales growth and expansion course. Alone in 2012, twelve new wholesale stores were opened across the country, setting a company record for openings in a single country over a calendar year. Nine more outlets have been added so far this year to lift the location tally to 72, making China the 3rd biggest market by store number on par with Russia at METRO Cash & Carry after Germany and France.
Already today more than 10,000 well trained and dedicated staffs connect over 3.5 million Chinese professional customers with the company's unique trade competence including the broad range of food and non-food assortments with special focus on fresh category, multichannel sales, delivery service, and support programs for small retailers as well as its track record for food safety and sustainability.
"METRO remains committed to the Chinese market and aims to retain the recent expansion momentum in the long term. We strive to be even more engaged with our Chinese customers and constantly improve service quality and enhance the value to them. Today's opening doubles our presence in Chongqing and we are convinced METRO has a good role to play in the prosperity of the City of Hills", said Jeroen de Groot, Managing Director of METRO Cash & Carry China. The company already runs a wholesale market in Chongqing opened in 2001.
The new METRO store, situated in Chongqing New North Zone (CNNZ), offer a selling space of about 8,000 m² and approximate 16,000 food and non-food items, some 90% of which are sourced locally. The store is open daily from 6 am to 10 pm with about 150 staff. The New North Zone benefits from its modern infrastructure and convenient location which provides it with instant access to the city’s airport, Jialing River and Yangtze River as well as the railway network. The automotive industry is thriving in the zone with the service sector taking shape rapidly in recent years.
From Rhine to Yangtze via METRO
As one of the four municipalities directly under the Chinese central government, the megalopolis of Chongqing has been flourishing in the past decade to become the major manufacturing center and transportation hub in western inland China. METRO Cash & Carry entered the city already in 2001 during its first expansion campaign into central and western Chinese regions amid China's grand western development drive. The Düsseldorf-headquartered company has played an active part in strengthening the ties between its home town by the Rhine and the megacity at the upstream Yangtze as Düsseldorf and Chongqing are officially twin cities since 2004.
50 years of internationalization
Now active in 29 countries, METRO Cash & Carry is the most international wholesale chain in the world. After its first store opened in 1964 in Germany, it took its first step abroad in 1968 by entering the Netherlands. The unique self-service one-stop shopping model was rolled out to most Western European countries throughout 1970s and 1980s before being extensively launched and expanded across the emerging markets in Eastern Europe and Asia during recent two decades. The wholesale company is set to celebrate its 50th birthday in 2014.