The History of METRO GROUP

Development of METRO GROUP since 1996


The year 2015 marks a milestone in the transformation process of METRO GROUP and its sales lines. One important step is the divestment of Galeria Kaufhof to Hudson's Bay Company (HBC), Canada. With this transaction, METRO GROUP proceeds with the group's transformation process and debt reduction programme. HBC acquires the German and Belgian department store activities of Galeria Kaufhof for a transaction value of around €2.8 billion including the assumption of various liabilities. Besides the attractive sales price and the solid financing concept the crucial factor leading to this decision was also HBC's binding commitment to take over the roughly 21,500 employees of Galeria Kaufhof. The transaction is completed by 30 September 2015.

Fundamental changes also take place at METRO Cash & Carry. Effective from 1 July 2015 the sales line introduces a new management and organisation model that transfers more operational responsibility and gives greater leeway to the country organisations. At the same time, customer group-specific activities, like for example for the core customer group of hotel, restaurant and catering operators, are to be coordinated at the supra-national level in future.

With the acquisition of Classic Fine Foods (CFF), METRO GROUP strengthens the competence and know-how of METRO Cash & Carry in the field of food service distribution. The Singapore-based company is a leading player in this field. CFF supplies top-class hotels and restaurants in megacities in Asia and the Middle East with premium foods.

Media-Saturn continues developing into a successful multi-channel retailer for consumer electronics products. Under the JUKE brand, Media-Saturn is bundling its extensive offering of music, films and TV series, e-books, PC games and software on a new, digital entertainment portal. Also the services offering is extended further. To this effect, Media-Saturn signs an agreement for the acquisition of a majority stake in the customer services and repair services provider RTS in August. This company provides services for electronics products in all of Germany and, via partners, across Europe.

The sales line Real celebrates its 50th anniversary. Following kick-off events at the stores and headquarters, the hypermarkets offer their customers discount campaigns and special weeks around the topics fresh produce, diversity and innovation throughout the year.

Innovation and long-term growth are also at the focus of the "Techstars METRO Accelerator". With this programme, METRO GROUP moves into the field of supporting innovative new businesses. It addresses start-ups with new, technical applications for the hospitality sector that offer a sustainable value added for the METRO Cash & Carry customers. In addition, METRO GROUP also acquires a stake in the US online job network Culinary Agents which is a specialised job matching site for food, beverage and hospitality professionals. In the framework of its cooperation with METRO Cash & Carry, the company for the first time offers this service in Italy and France in 2015.


The METRO Cash & Carry sales line celebrates its 50th anniversary. Throughout the year the METRO Cash & Carry countries commemorate this anniversary with numerous events and special activities for customers, employees and suppliers. Among the highlights in Germany are the anniversary parties in Berlin and Düsseldorf, the Mini Truck Tour, and the "50 Super Deals" offering customers one product at a special anniversary price every day during the period from September to October. With the opening of the first wholesale store in Mülheim an der Ruhr in the year 1964, METRO Cash & Carry laid the foundation for the successful concept of its self-service wholesale business. Half a century later, this sales line has grown significantly with more than 750 stores in 25 countries in Europe and Asia as well as around 110,000 employees catering to the needs of their 21 million customers.

The sales line Real focuses on the successful development of its business activities in Germany. In the framework of its realignment, METRO GROUP agrees to divest Real's twelve hypermarkets and its headquarters in Turkey to the retailer Hacı Duran Beğendik.

METRO GROUP continues to set the standard in terms of transparency and food safety. In this context, METRO Cash & Carry rolls out a unique traceability system allowing it to track the origin of fish products, for example. Customers of METRO Cash & Carry can check via smart phone app in which seas and with which method the fish were caught. But METRO GROUP also demonstrates responsible conduct in other fields. With a joint declaration, METRO GROUP and the global trade union federation UNI Global Union confirmed their continued active commitment to fair working conditions. This declaration ties in with existing commitments to comply with the labour standards set by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

With around 16,000 amateur and professional athletes from over 70 nations, more runners than ever before participate in the largest sports event in Düsseldorf, the METRO GROUP Marathon.


Professor Otto Beisheim, the founder of METRO Cash & Carry, dies at the age of 89. With his concept of self-service wholesale, Beisheim revolutionised an entire industry in the mid-1960s and laid the foundation for METRO GROUP today. 

Chairman of the Management Board Olaf Koch assumes operational responsibility for the sales line METRO Cash & Carry, underscoring the priority METRO GROUP places on the wholesale business. The CEO of METRO Cash & Carry up to this point, Frans W. H. Muller, resigns from the company. In April, Pieter Haas, previously a member of the Management Board and COO of Media-Saturn-Holding GmbH, assumes his new position as a member of the Management Board of METRO AG. In this role, he oversees Business Innovation/New Ventures, IT Management/METRO SYSTEMS and Media-Saturn.

In order to offer social and ecological compatible products, the sales lines of METRO GROUP expand their activities for sustainable procurement. METRO GROUP forms a strategic alliance with 16 international companies and organisations to create a harmonised assessment scale for sustainable fish purchasing. METRO Cash & Carry China offers fully-traceable fresh salmon for the first time. The hypermarket Real adds products bearing the new label "Für mehr Tierschutz" ("For more animal protection") to its assortment in nearly 200 Real hypermarkets. The seal of the German animal welfare association designates sausage and meat from animals raised in conditions better than those required by law.

METRO GROUP announces that the sales line Media-Saturn will discontinue business operations in China after a two-year test phase that ended in 2012. Media-Saturn increases its stake in the online retailer Redcoon to 100 percent in June. Redcoon has been part of the Media-Saturn Group since 2011.

METRO Cash & Carry aims for further extension of its network that is already present in 29 countries serving more than 20 million customers. In November, METRO Cash & Carry inaugurated its worldwide 750th wholesale market in the Chinese city of Chongqing.

At METRO GROUP's annual press conference in December, METRO Cash & Carry presented its new brand positioning. The goal of the self-service wholesaler is to become the partner of choice for independent small and medium-sized entrepreneurs. A new claim ("YOU & METRO") underscores this positioning and will be at the focus of an international image campaign.

METRO GROUP will remain the title sponsor of the Düsseldorf marathon until 2016. The retail and wholesale company's sponsorship of this major sports event once again underscores its commitment to its hometown of Düsseldorf where its headquarters is located.


In January Olaf Koch, previously Chief Financial Officer of METRO AG, succeeds Dr Eckhard Cordes as the new Chairman of the Management Board of METRO AG. Mark Frese is appointed Chief Financial Officer of METRO AG. In March Joël Saveuse, member of the Management Board of METRO AG and CEO of Real Group, leaves the company.

METRO GROUP continues its international expansion in 2012 with clear focus on selected countries and further optimises its international portfolio. METRO Cash & Carry manages to open 12 new stores in China, the best annual opening performance for a single country in the company's history. In May, METRO GROUP sells its MAKRO UK operations including 30 wholesale stores and all operating assets to the Booker Group, a leading grocery retailer in the UK. In November METRO GROUP signs an agreement with Groupe Auchan to sell Real's Eastern European business in Poland, Romania, Russia and Ukraine to the French retailer.

In September, METRO AG shares exit the DAX 30 blue-chip index and get listed in the mid-cap MDAX due to the share's under-performance as well as the relatively small proportion of free float shares.

The year 2012 sees multichannel sales grow across the Group. At Media-Saturn, for example, online sales more than double. Media Markt's new online store offers customers in Germany even more flexibility when shopping: the online store is closely interlinked with the German consumer electronics stores. Customers may for instance order electronic products on the Internet for same-day collection at a local store.


The principle of sustainability is firmly anchored in METRO GROUP's strategy. In signing up to the UN Global Compact in January, the Group acknowledges the ten principles of this network for corporate responsibility.

In May, METRO GROUP launches a new umbrella brand communication campaign featuring the slogan 'Made to trade.' It is a combination of conventional print ads, novel online tools and public dialogue forums.

METRO GROUP is an official partner of the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest with its sales brands METRO Cash & Carry, Saturn and Galeria Kaufhof. The three sales brands are involved in sponsorship and in the supporting programme for this major event held in Düsseldorf in May.

Galeria Kaufhof and Saturn expand their multichannel offer, launching online shops. Since October, customers have been able to shop around the clock in comfort on their computer.

There are changes on the Management Board: in October, Dr Eckhard Cordes announces his resignation as Chairman of the Management Board. As of 1 October Heiko Hutmacher joins the Management Board of METRO AG as Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO).


In March, the administrative functions of METRO AG and METRO Cash & Carry are pooled. The newly formed unit assumes key responsibilities for the whole Group. The Company's remodelled public image and new logo underline the high importance of the cash & carry business.

From May to October, the retail and wholesale group presents itself at the EXPO World's Fair in Shanghai, which features the motto 'Better City, Better Life'. METRO Cash & Carry and Media Markt form the centrepiece of the appearance.

METRO GROUP meets its customers' expectations by introducing new sales formats. Since May, Real has been selling a range of non-food products online.

In November, Real opens the first drive-in supermarket in Germany. Customers can place their orders online and pick them up at the test store near Hanover.

METRO GROUP steadily continues its growth strategy throughout 2010. Media Markt opens its first consumer electronics store in China and Saturn enters the Russian market in October. There are changes in the Management Board of METRO AG with Thomas Unger, Vice Chairman, and Zygmunt Mierdorf both departing.


METRO GROUP kicks off 2009 with an efficiency and value enhancement programme. The aim of "Shape 2012" is to achieve maximum possible growth and customer orientation. The brand message that the company presents in May hits the nail on the head: METRO GROUP is "Made to Trade."

On the international stage, METRO GROUP continues its expansion programme. METRO Cash & Carry realises its market entry in Kazakhstan and Real opens its first hypermarket in the Ukraine. 

Two sales brands have anniversaries in 2009. Galeria Kaufhof can look back on a 130-year history; Media Markt celebrates ist 30th birthday. In 2009, METRO GROUP gives more weight to the subject of sustainability, making it an integral part of its corporate strategy by founding a Sustainability Committee. 

In December the trading and retailing company announces its collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The joint programme aims to fight hunger in developing countries.

There are changes at the top at METRO GROUP. Thomas Unger is named vice-chairman of METRO AG. The Supervisory Board appoints Olaf Koch as CFO; he takes up his post on 14 September.


METRO GROUP continues to optimise its portfolio in 2008. After selling its 245 Extra supermarkets, the Group's focus in food retail services will be on its Real hypermarkets. With its new "real,-" Future Store in the North Rhine-Westphalian town of Toenisvorst, METRO GROUP lives up to its reputation as a driving force for the entire retail industry. Here, the Group tests state-of-the-art technologies and concepts that are set to shape the future of retail. The hypermarket of tomorrow proves a hit with consumers. Since its opening, sales have grown consistently.

The retailing company also continues to push forward with its expansion at an international level. Saturn opens its first consumer electronics stores in Greece and Luxembourg in 2008. This means that METRO GROUP is now present in 32 countries worldwide.

METRO GROUP is the first German retailing company to publish its carbon footprint and commit to reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases by 15 percent by 2015. METRO GROUP also takes its responsibility as an employer very seriously. Once again, more than 3,000 young people across Germany start their apprenticeships in the Group's various companies. This makes METRO GROUP one of the largest training companies in Germany.


METRO GROUP is continuing its international expansion. METRO Cash & Carry opened the first wholesale store in Pakistan and Media Markt entered the market in Turkey. METRO GROUP is expanding its sales network in other countries as well. In Romania, Real will open its 14th Real hypermarket at the end of the year. With the comprehensive implementation of the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in Germany, METRO GROUP ensures even better supply chain efficiency. Deliveries are automatically registered at 180 locations of METRO Cash & Carry and Real as well as in the central warehouses of MGL METRO GROUP Logistics. In order to help customers get a balanced diet, METRO GROUP is implementing nutrition fact labels for its own brands and is the first German retail company to do so. The company also sets an example regarding the balance between work and family. At the Düsseldorf location, METRO GROUP opens its second bilingual company kindergarten called "METRO-Sternchen". A personnel change takes place at the top of METRO GROUP: Dr Eckhard Cordes is the new CEO and replaces Dr Hans-Joachim Körber.


In its tenth anniversary year, METRO GROUP makes its first appearance at the CeBIT in Hanover. More than 120,000 trade fair visitors find out about the many possible uses of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) at the Future Store Initiative stand. To mark the anniversary, METRO GROUP publishes the European Consumption Report – a Europe-wide study of consumer spending. In addition, the company runs the charity campaign "Koch mit" (Cook and help), to support the German charity "Die Tafel" (The Table) who provide food for those in need. The internationalisation process also continues: Media Markt expands into Sweden and Russia, while Real enters the Romanian market. The takeovers of Wal-Mart Germany and the stores of French hypermarket chain Géant in Poland, also strengthen Real's market position. In addition, METRO GROUP further develops its purchasing strategy: the cross-national structure of MGBI (METRO GROUP Buying International), creates additional group-wide synergies in the area of goods procurement.


As one of the world's most internationally oriented wholesale and retail companies, METRO GROUP continues its expansion course. The first METRO Cash & Carry wholesale outlet in Serbia and Montenegro opens its doors, Real enters the Russian market and Media Markt establishes a location in Greece, to name just of few of the company's international activities. With the stock market listing of Praktiker in November, METRO GROUP further concentrates its focus on its core business areas. The image of METRO GROUP as an attractive employer is again confirmed in 2005. The proportion of trainees in its operations throughout Germany reaches an all-time high, at 8.3 percent. Even the very youngest are looked after: in September, the bilingual company kindergarten "Metro-Sternchen" (Little Metro Stars) opens at the headquarters in Düsseldorf. With this daycare center, METRO GROUP supports its staff in creating an ideal balance between family and career.


By the end of the year, METRO GROUP is active in 30 countries worldwide. It possesses a clear profile as a modern, high-performance retail and wholesale company. Three sales divisions celebrate anniversaries in 2004: Media Markt and Saturn mark their 25th year in business, METRO Cash & Carry turns 40 and Galeria Kaufhof looks back on a 125-year company history. The METRO GROUP exhibition "Fascinating Worlds of Retail" attracts public attention with its exciting insights into the sector. METRO GROUP further advances technological progress in commerce with the opening of its RFID Innovation Center in Neuss and the implementation of the forward-looking technology RFID.


METRO GROUP operates in 28 countries. Business in Eastern Europe and Asia makes an especially strong contribution to the positive development of its sales. METRO Cash & Carry opens its first stores in Ukraine and India. As one of the leading companies in its sector, METRO GROUP launches the most far-reaching innovation initiative commerce has ever seen. In the context of the METRO GROUP Future Store Initiative, the company tests forward-looking technologies like Radio Frequency Identification – RFID for short. The innovative technology facilitates more efficient warehouse management, while rendering shopping faster, more individual and convenient. As of April 2003, consumers can experience the future of retail firsthand at the METRO GROUP Future Store in the North Rhine-Westphalian town of Rheinberg.


In November 2002, METRO AG takes a further step in consolidating its position as a modern, international wholesale and retail company. From this point on, the company presents itself on a worldwide scale as METRO GROUP. The move underscores the sense of belonging to a single, powerful alliance, shared by all of the retail brands and group companies. In addition, the METRO GROUP hones its profile as an international retail group and successful DAX 30-listed corporation. This positioning is supported by the brand message, "METRO GROUP – The Spirit of Commerce." It expresses the key attributes of the corporate identity that has been developed over the past years: innovation, success-orientation and internationality. The METRO GROUP enters the Japanese and Vietnamese markets.


2001 is a year of daunting entrepreneurial challenges. The reasons include continuing stagnation in German retail, as well as a generally unfavourable economic situation. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington have an unsettling effect on consumers. Despite this market trend, METRO AG finishes the year with positive business results. The company makes further progress in its international expansion course. 80 new locations are added in 2001, including the first METRO Cash & Carry wholesale outlets in Russia. An additional key component in the company's success is the development of its sales divisions into retail brands – unmistakable entities in the marketplace.


METRO AG has developed into an internationally oriented company with decentralised management teams. The share of its turnover generated outside of Germany grows to 42.2 percent. The Group employs approximately 220,000 people in 22 countries. In order to support career development throughout its workforce, METRO AG expands its staff development programmes and introduces new qualification, assessment and remuneration systems. The company is increasingly capital market-focused. For the first time, the Group releases its financial statement for the year 2000 in accordance to the International Accounting Standards (IAS), to achieve greater transparency in its accounting. In addition, the control and management system EVA (Economic Value Added) is introduced in order to strengthen entrepreneurial thinking throughout the Group. In 2000, METRO AG ranks no. 18 among DAX 30 companies. The METRO share is one of the 20 most traded DAX stocks.


METRO AG liquidates its retail properties. This gives the company leeway for key investments, which accelerate its growth in wholesale and retail. Following the realignment of the Group in 1998, its focus is now on optimising its sales concepts. Real and Kaufhof join Payback – the largest and most important customer loyalty programme in Germany. In addition, METRO AG continues to consistently expand its international presence: 16 METRO Cash & Carry wholesale outlets, ten Real hypermarkets and 47 non-food specialty centres open abroad. The share of turnover generated outside of Germany grows to 39.2 percent.


In the most successful year in the company's history, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) grow 63.5 percent to 1.6 billion German marks. METRO shares outstrip all other DAX 30 stocks. The group streamlines its portfolio further. At year end, METRO AG has become a clearly structured corporation, with four business areas and several cross-divisional service companies, which operate on a group-wide basis. Progress is also made in internationalisation: in 1998, business abroad already contributes 35.2 percent to total turnover. Media Markt expands into Poland.


METRO AG further advances its expansion outside of Germany: international moves include the opening of the first MAKRO Cash & Carry wholesale outlet in the Czech Republic and the entry of Real into the Polish market. Turnover abroad in 1997 accounts for 7.1 percent of total turnover. In addition, the group begins to concentrate more on its core business: peripheral activities and unprofitable sales divisions are relinquished. The group structures itself into 13 business areas  – from wholesale to fashion retail.


Within a period of only ten months, METRO AG is formed through a merger of the retail companies Asko Deutsche Kaufhaus AG, Kaufhof Holding AG and Deutsche SB-Kauf AG. The group enters the stock market in the same year. On 25 July 1996, METRO AG shares are listed for the first time on the DAX German Stock Index. With a market capitalisation of 12.07 billion German marks, METRO AG ends the year 1996 as one of the 20 largest publicly listed companies in Germany. It also advances its internationalisation process: the company expands into Romania and China.

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