At the end of 2007, Germany’s METRO Group had over 280,000 employees and an annual turnover of 66 billion Euro making it the fourth largest retailer in the world behind Wal-Mart (a turnover of 271 billion Euro), Carrefour (82 billion Euro) and Tesco (68 billion Euro). Further, nearly 60% of METRO Group’s revenues came from outside Germany. The story of the growth and transformation of METRO Group from its humble beginnings in the Ruhr valley of Germany just 45 years ago to its present size and scope as a global retailing group is an interesting and important case study, particularly from the viewpoint of providing insights into successful international retailing and global expansion. In this chapter, we describe and review METRO Group’s history and strategies within and outside of Germany, drawing lessons and implications for retailers interested in international growth.
The METRO Group today, whose management holding group is METRO AG in Germany, is comprised of four major sales divisions: The “Cash & Carry” (C&C) stores of the affiliated Metro and Makro companies which make this Group the worldwide leader in self-service wholesaling, the Real chain of food hypermarkets, the nonfood specialty stores chains Media Markt and Saturn which are the leading consumer electronics stores in Europe and the Galeria Kaufhof department store chain. Altogether, METRO Group now has a presence in 32 countries and its four sales divisions together have almost 2,200 locations distributed as follows: 655 Metro and Makro Cash & Carry outlets in 29 countries; 439 Real outlets in five countries; 768 Media Markt and Saturn outlets in 16 countries; 141 Kaufhof outlets in two countries.