“Wal-Mart has no chance in Germany,” said Hans Joachim Körber today (20 December), stressing both his company’s confidence and its lack of intention to divest its businesses.
“[Wal-Mart] were forced into internationalising by the capital markets but their culture does not travel,” he added. “They do not understand the German customer and they have run into a financial trap.”
CEO of German supermarket group Metro, Körber’s controversial comments challenged the global number one which has been struggling since its entrance into the German market, and only months after speculation abounded that it was even mulling a takeover bid for the Metro chain itself.
Speculation has surrounded Metro for some time on the possibility of a series of divestments, and other possible buyers include Carrefour and Tesco, but Korber is adamant that the chain will not be a target for international predators and intends to be an acquirer instead.
Whatever the case, and somewhat ironically, industry analysts have warned that Metro must boost its own profitability if thinking of a sale following a poor performance on the share market and imbalances in its asset portfolio. If on the other hand, Metro wants to avoid being gobbled up, Körber himself understands that “we have to work for a high share price because it is the only protection.”
Check out this week’s editorial for an insight into global retailing – why are some struggling while others move apparently effortlessly into foreign markets?