METRO Cash & Carry: sector development in the cash-and-carry business

In terms of sales, METRO Cash & Carry is the global market leader in self-service wholesale. The sales line benefits from an unrivalled international presence with stores in 25 countries and another ten countries covered by Classic Fine Foods (CFF).

In financial year 2015/16, sales in the cash-and-carry segment in Germany fell slightly short of the previous year’s level. Self-service wholesale recorded somewhat weaker sales than food retail, which continued its positive trend. At just over 1 per cent, food price increases remained below average. Delivery wholesale continued its strong momentum.

In Western Europe, the positive trend in self-service wholesale continued in financial year 2015/16 with an increase in sales over the previous year. The combination of a moderate economic recovery and stagnant or only slightly rising prices supported sales in self-service wholesale. This could be observed in Spain and Portugal in particular. Moreover, in Spain, the tourism and restaurant sectors – two key Horeca customers – benefited from record tourist arrivals as geopolitical tension caused holidaymakers to avoid other Mediterranean destinations such as North Africa and Turkey. As a result, the major Horeca countries of Western Europe contributed to growth of self-service wholesale in the Horeca cluster. In addition, the cluster benefited from the positive development of self-service wholesale in Japan and Turkey in financial year 2015/16.

Delivery sales in Western Europe were stable as well.

In Eastern Europe, sales in self-service wholesale grew more strongly than a year earlier. However, divergent economic and political parameters continued to produce a mixed picture. The Central European countries showed stable developments and positive sales trends, while the ongoing conflict and the persistently challenging economic environment continued to weigh on retail and wholesale in Ukraine and Russia. Self-service wholesale recorded a price-induced increase in sales, with sales continuing their downward trend in price-adjusted terms. However, the negative trend subsided during the second half of 2016. While the situation in Ukraine also weighed on overall developments in the traders segment, the latter recorded higher self-service wholesale sales thanks partly to solid developments in Poland, Romania and Moldova. In import-dependent Kazakhstan, both self-service wholesale and retail sales suffered severely from the devaluation of the Kazakhstani tenge as well as from uncertainty regarding future developments among consumers. Despite the difficult political situation, Turkey recorded relatively strong nominal growth in self-service wholesale, although food prices also rose markedly. The increase in terrorist attacks and developments in the aftermath of the attempted military coup impacted the tourism and restaurant sectors, causing sales trends to weaken over the course of 2016.

Self-service wholesale in Asia continued its strong momentum in financial year 2015/16. The region led the growth rankings again even though the Chinese economy slowed markedly. India and Pakistan were the region’s key growth drivers as both countries recorded higher nominal and real sales. The Asian food supply landscape is dominated by traditional retail structures, which continue to offer strong growth potential to the cash-and-carry segment. In addition, growing demand for delivery services across Asia creates new opportunities for food wholesale.

The Asian markets were the key drivers of growth in the multispecialists segment although growth in this segment was weakened somewhat by below-average sales growth in the saturated Western European markets of Belgium and the Netherlands as well as the challenging economic environment in Russia and Kazakhstan.