German retail giant Metro is looking to sell its hypermarket chain Real, in order to continue narrowing its focus on wholesale. Amazon is named as one of the potential buyers.
Metro wants to continue streamlining its organisation, after letting go its department store chain Kaufhof and its electronics division Media Saturn (renamed Ceconomy). The company sees huge potential if it commits itself to wholesale: "Through its realignment over the past years, Real has laid the foundations for an independent future in the German food retail segment", a press release states. In the last few years, Real has developed a market hall concept, invested in e-commerce and bundled central functions to create synergies.
With its 282 hypermarkets and 34,000 employees, Real creates a turnover of 7.2 billion euro and an operational profit of 154 million euro, but after a disappointing latest quarter analysts are concerned that a new wage agreement will raise costs significantly. Moreover, in the whole of Western Europe the importance of hypermarkets is dwindling and especially the German market - where Aldi and Lidl have a market share of 40 % - is extremely competitive.
CEO Olaf Koch still sees some good opportunities to find an interested buyer, as he claims that Metro has repeatedly been contacted before. Certain analysts even think Amazon would like to buy its way into the huge German food market this way...