German cash-and-carry major Metro Group is planning to scale up its operations throughout the country in the next couple of months despite protests from political parties and trade groups.
"We are not moderating our expansion plans. The protests are done by those who have vested interests in keeping prices high. We will have stores pan-India," said Alan Clayton, operations director, Metro Cash & Carry India.
The German company is planning to start its Mumbai operations in a couple of weeks at Bhandup,a central suburb of Mumbai. Soon after, it is planning to open stores in Kolkata, Punjab and other states.
The wholesale major has invested 95 million euros in its Indian operations in the last four years, Clayton said.
Clayton said the company sources 95% of products from India, and will increase its sourcing from the country in the coming years.
Metro, which has operations in 29 countries, has three stores in India - two in Bangalore and one in Hyderabad.
Asked about competition from Wal-Mart and Carrefour, which are looking at entering the country in the cash-and-carry business, Clayton said: ''Since there are no competitors in the country for us at pressent and since we have already established ourselves, we can take the first mover advantage. The idea is to open several stores every year in the areas that have a population of more than 5 million.''
Metro's stores typically have an area of 3,00,000-4,00,000 square feet, and sell to retailers, hotels and supermarkets.