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Metro AG Adds India Outlets as Country Targeted to Grow

Metro AG will run 50 wholesale markets in India by 2020 as the German retailer makes the world’s second most populous nation one of its main targets of growth.

Metro has had Cash & Carry operations in the country since 2003, and currently has 16 distribution centers in 12 Indian cities, the Dusseldorf-based company said today in a statement.

The plan “provides a firm foundation for us to switch our expansion to the fast lane now,” Rajeev Bakshi, the managing director of Metro Cash & Carry India, said in the statement.

The retailer is adding India to Russia, China and Turkey as its four markets to focus on for expansion, Chief Executive Olaf Koch said in the statement. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said last month that it plans to open 50 wholesale stores in India in the next four to five years.

India’s retail market is projected to be worth $865 billion by 2023, according to consultant Technopak Advisors Pvt. India changed laws in September 2012 to allow foreign retailers to own majority stakes in stores selling multiple brands. Cheshunt, England-based Tesco Plc outlined plans in December to become the first global chain to enter India with stores since the government made the change.

There remains uncertainty about the future of the regulations. The front-running Bharatiya Janata Party has said it will block such investment in supermarkets should it win power in this month’s parliamentary elections.

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