Kolkata, Dec 3, 2008 : Metro Cash & Carry, the Indian arm of German wholesaler Metro AG, Wednesday opened its first outlet here, nearly two months after the company was granted licence to sell farm commodities and other food items in West Bengal. “We have invested Rs.140 crore (Rs.1.4 billion) in the region and also created 350 new jobs for local citizens,” Metro Cash & Carry India managing director Martin Dlouhy told reporters here.
The company faced tough times earlier as Forward Bloc, a partner in the state’s Left Front government, which controls agriculture and agricultural marketing departments, opposed the renewal of the licence. None of the Forward Bloc members turned up for the inaugural ceremony though the company said it had invited them.
Asked abouit this, Forward Bloc leader and Agriculture Marketing Board chairman Naren Chatterjee told mediapersons: “We usually don’t go for any private company’s ceremony. There is no other reason apart from this for not attending the inauguration.”
Including the 100,000-square-feet Kolkata store, the German wholesale major has five stores in India - two in Bangalore, one each in Hyderabad and Mumbai. Cricket star Sourav Ganguly and state Sundarbans Affairs Minister Kanti Ganguly inaugurated the outlet.
“I am confident that our unique model will catalyse the entrepreneurial attitude of Bengalis by providing a one-stop solution for purchase, improvements in assortments and high quality products to our professional customers,” Dlouhy said. The minimum level of purchase from this store should be Rs.1,000, a company source confirmed.