Source: eKapija | Thursday, 14.01.2010.| 16:16
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"Metro Cash & Carry": 2010 will be the year of Serbian manufacturers and suppliers

- The global leader in the field of wholesale trade, company "Metro Cash & Carry", which started realization of the project for development of its own trademarks in Serbia in 2006, plans to expand the chain of manufacturers and suppliers from our country and improve the sale of articles from Serbia in foreign markets - Veronika Puncheva, the President of the Administrative Board of "Metro Cash & Carry Serbia", announced. The products from our country are now exported to Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia and Czech Republic.

– About 400 articles are manufactured in Serbia for "Metro Cash & Carry", and our plan is to double that number in 2010. The sales of private trademarks in 2009 grew by 60% against year 2008, and the expected share of these trademarks in overall assortment in 2012 is 20% - said Puncheva.

On the occasion of today's (January 13, 2010) celebration of the fifth anniversary of presence in Serbia, she says that "Metro Cash & Carry" cooperates with over 900 local suppliers at the moment, while 40 domestic companies delivers products for the private trademark of this company.

Veronika Puncheva
Veronika Puncheva

- About 80% of the assortment of the food department in our five centers in Serbia is coming from the local market, while 20% of the offer are seasonal products and articles from the Far East.

In 2009, company "Metro Cash & Carry" adopted the new strategy for development of private trademarks and, thus, reduced the selection to six brands that primarily satisfy the needs of professional buyers. The brands that will be developed by the company in the following period are: "H", "Horeca", "Fine food", "Aro", "Rioba" and "Sigma".

- Private trademarks are excellent response to the crisis because their prices are in accordance with the reduced purchasing power of consumers. That is why development of the company's own brands is one of the most important tasks of "Metro" group. We have already developed excellent products in Serbia, especially in the food industry sector. That is the reason why we are going to intensify cooperation with Serbian manufacturers in the following period, we will be working on improvement and insurance of quality of products in order to offer them through our distribution network. Unfortunately, there are no food manufacturers in Serbia with International Food Standard (IFS) certificate - said Puncheva, explaining that the obtaining of that certificate is not a complicated process and that it represents a new standard for the majority of European manufacturers.

"Metro" wants to distribute kajmak – high criteria for manufacturers

In order to help Serbian companies, "Metro Cash & Carry" will start realization of the whole-year education programme, and the first step will be organization of one-day courses for all suppliers and manufacturers of private trademarks who want to get familiar with IFS.

- When we are choosing manufacturers for private trademarks, we are, sometimes, faced with the fact that even some famous manufacturers can not satisfy our high criteria because we are very rigorous when it comes to quality. We carry out minimum 3 internal audits of each manufacturer every year, and we also check all articles in our facilities at least once a month. That is when we analyse samples.

One of the products that "Metro Cash & Carry" wants to offer to foreign countries under its own brand is kajmak (milk cream), but, as Puncheva explains, the adequate manufacturer has not been found yet.

- Since it is a very sensitive product from the viewpoint of microbiology, we have not been able to find the reliable and quality manufacturer to the date. We are working on that project for two years now.

Third center in Belgrade in 2010 - no crisis in 2009

The President of the Administrative Board of "Metro Cash & Carry Serbia" confirmed earlier announcements of the investments in new trade centers in Serbia.

- We plan to open the third facility in Belgrade in 2010. We are working on the project for the north of Serbia, and the expansion of business to the western part of the country is in the pipeline as well. We will be able to provide more precise information in one month - said Puncheva who was unable to answer the questions about the value of the investment and the exact location and tempo of construction.

The Minister of Trade and Services, Slobodan Milosavljević, points out that "Metro Cash & Carry" is the only European trade leader that successfully operates in the market of Serbia for five years and that it raised the quality of trade services thanks to its high standards.

- Company "Metro" is a prototype of ideal foreign investor that Serbia needs because it is the leader in its own country, as well as one of the leaders in trade sectors in Europe and the world. It is the company that represents a prominent player in 33 countries, contributes to development of their markets and connects these countries. Through cooperation and willingness to transfer experience and knowledge, company "Metro" helped many small and mid-sized trade companies to position in the market and make their operations sustainable in the conditions of growing competition. Through continuous investments in the last five years, "Metro" covered the territory of Serbia to a significant extent and enabled professional buyers to establish closer and quicker contact with its rich offer, thus contributing to greater attractiveness of the market of Serbia to other market chains - said Milosavljević on the occasion of the celebration of the company's fifth anniversary.

Puncheva said that "Metro Cash &Carry" would announce its financial results in Serbia for year 2009 in March. She added that the company was extremely satisfied with the last year since it had registered growth of incomes in spite of the crisis. "Metro Cash and Carry", one of the largest investors in Serbia in the trade sector, has, so far, invested over 100m EUR and employed 1,300 people in our country. The sales worth 221m EUR were registered in five centers in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš and Kragujevac in 2008.

The company opened its first distribution center in Serbia on January 5th, 2005, in Belgrade's settlement Krnjača and, thus, became the first and, so far, one of the world's ten largest trade companies to invest in Serbia.

According to the analysis performed by the Organization fo Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), "Metro" is the largest greenfield investment in the countries of southeast Europe in 2005. The target groups of buyers are HoReCa (hotels, restaurants, catering cafes/bars), traders (newsstands, gas stations, bookstores), offices (catering activities, institutions, associations).

"Metro Group" in numbers

"Metro Group", with the headquarters in Dusseldorf, operates in 33 countries worldwide, it has over 660 retail centers and 100,000 employees. "Metro Cash & Carry" is the retail line of "Metro Group", one of the biggest international trade companies in the world. In 2008, the Group registered the sales of 68 billion EUR. The company has over 300,000 employees and about 2,200 centers in 32 countries. The strength of "Metro Group" lies in the retail lines that independently operate in the market: wholesale market chains "Metro/Macro Cash & Carry", "Real" hypermarkets – retail food stores, "Media Markt" and "Saturn" – European market leaders specialized in retail trade in media and other electric appliances, and "Galeria Kaufhof" – modern department stores.

"Metro Group" is one of the biggest companies on German Stock Exchange.

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