German cash and carry operator Metro has opened its first Croatian store. The retailer has taken yet another international step by moving into Croatia. Metro's international expansion policy, funded by divesting many of its non-cash and carry operations, is bolder than that of many of other food retailers. It seems to be paying off. In developed and less developed markets, Metro is going from strength to strength.

German retail group Metro has opened its first Croatian store in Zagreb, out of a planned six. Metro has shed many non-core interests in recent years, to concentrate on the development of its more lucrative cash and carry operations. Domestically it already has much of the market sewn up, but there is still plenty of scope for growth in less developed markets outside Germany. The company is now close to achieving its aim of achieving 50% of revenue from non-German operations.

Although the German group is focusing on the cash and carry concept, it still operates a range of store formats including the German supermarket chain Extra, the hypermarket chain Real and Galeria Kaufhof department stores. The funds from selling off many of its other non-core interests are the major factor enabling Metro to be so bold on the international stage.

The Croatian venture is just the latest stage of an aggressive international expansion plan that has seen the German group establish operations in a total of 24 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. It is set to open 40 stores a year over the next five years; Vietnam, Japan and India are all likely new destinations on the Metro itinerary.

However, Metro is not currently letting its global development result in the neglect of its core Western European operations. The group's ECO stores, offering high quality predominantly fresh produce for foodservice customers, have gone down well in France, and are touted for further growth within France and beyond. Metro is going from strength to strength, with its double-pronged development plans looking good for growth.

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