Metro Cash & Carry, an international specialist in wholesale and food retail with a presence in 25 countries, recently entered Myanmar by kicking off construction of its warehouse in Thilawa special economic zone this week.
Tiparayat Kaewsringarm, deputy CEO of Metro Wholesale Myanmar, the company’s Myanmar subsidiary, said in an interview that the firm would not have physical outlets in the nation unlike other countries that it operates, and only operate through the warehouse in Thilawa.
She said establishing the firm’s footprint would provide Myanmar with professional service solutions, highquality and safe products. She believes its market entry will support the nation’s growth.
“Myanmar is such a promising market that offers abundant opportunities for our B2B [business to business] wholesale business, particularly in the backdrop of the growing tourism sector,” she said.
“We are convinced that our expertise in areas such as food safety and supply chain management will strongly contribute to the development and upgrade of the local supply and distribution infrastructure.”
She said the firm aimed to make a difference for its customers in terms of food safety and sustainability. In this regard, global best practices in supply chain management would be introduced.
Construction of the warehouse on a 28,368 square metre plot is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. With the initial investment of around US$10 million (Bt331 million), the warehouse will be equipped with modern warehousing and storage facilities as well as an international logistic systems.
The facility will include refrigerated rooms ensuring cooling temperatures required to maintain freshness and good quality. It will also have processing and cleaning laboratories for fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, plus storage space and offices.
“We plan to work together with local producers like farmers and fishermen to bring fresh quality products to be processed in our warehouse for distribution. We plan on opening more warehouses as the business grows. As mobile communications becomes more accessible, we are implementing our ecommerce platform here,” she said.
“The wholesale distribution platform will be introduced to the market next year. It will provide convenience to professional customers in having a onestopshop for their various needs whether it is for hotels, restaurants, offices or retail.”
Tiparayat said the firm would make it a priority to recruit employees from the local community. However, she sees the skills shortage as a major challenge at this point. This is typical for multinational companies entering new markets.
“We are committed to investing in the development of local talent, and placing a priority on hiring Myanmar citizens. So far, we have recruited six functional head level employees. We expect to create 300 direct and 1,000 indirect jobs with the warehouse operation. In each country where we operate, we support our employees by giving them training,” she said.
She said training would be developed to equip local farmers with necessary awareness, knowledge and skills in areas such as production, harvesting, processing and packaging.
She said Metro aimed to unlock the potential in agricultural players to better serve end customers and promote food safety. She said sourcing local produce would promote Myanmar’s agricultural sector and foster export opportunities through the firm’s international sourcing channels.
“To make sure all the food products are of the highest quality, we will be sourcing directly from local producers and introducing a traceability system from farm to fork,” she said.
Globally, the firm has more than 100,000 employees in over 750 selfservice wholesale stores. It achieved sales of around 29 billion euros (Bt1.14 trillion) in fiscal year 201516. Earlier this year, it signed a joint venture agreement with Singaporelisted Yoma Strategic Holdings for wholesale distribution in Myanmar.