German retail giant Metro has sold a majority interest in its Chinese operations to local retailer Wumart. The sale fits in with the group’s strategy to focus more on professional customers.
Metro’s Chinese operations include 97 shops and real estate assets in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. As a result of the deal, the German group will only retain a 20 % stake in the ‘Metro Wumart China’ joint venture, with an option to sell the remaining shares after two years. The deal should earn Metro a billion euros, Reuters reports.
The German company has restructured in recent years and wants to focus on its European wholesale activities for professional customers. As such, the group sold all of its Kaufhof department stores, as well as the consumer electronics group Ceconomy (the owner of the Media Markt and Saturn chains). In addition, Metro is in negotiations over the sale of its Real hypermarkets.
Wumart is part of the Wumei Technology Group, one of the largest retailers in China. The company has a network of more than a thousand points of sale, located in hypermarkets, convenience stores and department stores. The group has an annual turnover of 50 billion yuan (6 billion euros).