Jeroen de Groot, Metro's newly appointed China president, recently revealed to the Chinese local media that Metro will accelerate its expansion in China through both owned real estate and leasing models.
Unlike Wal-Mart and Carrefour, who focus on leasing in China, Metro has been sticking to its owned real estate model. This model helped the company save costs as the rent keeps increasing in China; however, it limited the expansion speed for the company.
According to Groot, Metro plans to open nine new outlets in China in 2013, maintaining the same expansion level as 2012. At present, the company has 72 stores in China. By store scale, China has become Metro's third largest market in the world, following Germany and France. In 2012, the company's sales in China reached EUR1.89 billion. Groot said they will consider paying more attention to the second- and third-tier Chinese cities in the future.
Apart from physical stores, Metro will enhance investment in e-commerce business in China, said Groot. Metro has built its own e-commerce platform and implemented delivery in major cities and the company plans to increase investments in offline delivery in the future. Meanwhile, Metro is planning applications and cooperation in the social media sector.