Monday, October 8, 2012

Metro cheat in China

Metro is a german global retail and wholesale cash and carry group.
It is notably known for its supermarkets supplying professionnals in several countries (Metro/ Cash & Carry) 

At Changsha Metro established many years years ago. 
In order to make purchase in this shop you should own a membership card delivered only to professionnals: restaurants owner, shops...
The Metro Group benefits from a special fiscal regimes since it sells only to professionnals. This regime differs from traditionnal supermarket chains like Wall-Mart or Carrefour for instance.

However in Changsha I witness that most of Metro customers are individual shoppers ! families as seen in pictures below:

Children with trolleys half full : Sunday shoppers…

Worth since I opened a restaurant in 2006 in Changsha, I was already a Metro customer in 2006.
I can witnessthe drastic evolution of Metro policy in Changsha:

  • In 2006 Metro staff was checking customers at the entrance and asking them to show their membership cards. Today at the supermarket entrance : no control at all ! Anyone can enter inside the supermarket and shop!
  • There is some major changes in the product choice. Normaly, Metro should offer the best prices in order to satisfy professionnal customers (restaurant, commerce...) and also provide different products for professionnal customers (imported products, imported alcoohols...). In fact Metro adapts its offer to satisfy individual customers : its main shoppers and target. Metro aims to make more margin while offering expensive products to individual customers! Whereas it should normaly offer cheaper price to professionnal customers and sell large quantities. 
Metro customers in Changsha are rich, very rich and foreign expatriates « wealthy enough ». Metro can increase its prices and doesn’t offer any small price. Individual customers buy small quantities  but are willing to pay. 

  • All atypic products who can interest professionnals are not available at Metro or at very high price just for the image… or you can always order them in large quantities. For instance for our restaurant: no Pastis in Changsha, no whisky at fair price (however in 2006 you could find Pastis and whisky at affordable price and wine at affordable prices...). No wheat flours (or from time to time only if you are lucky, stocks being very limited and order uncertains...).

However we find : many alcools, vacuum cleaners, clothes, televisions… all products for individual customers.

Of course I am angry against the Metro Group strategy as I am the first one to suffer from it.
Last Sunday I queued for one hour with families. I asked products questions to the staff. They were unable to unswear me as they deal with individual customers and have no product knowledges. I didn’t find what I was looking for. The disposition of the product also is meant for individual customers and not functionnal at all.
Luckily in Changsha some specialized companies now offer similar products as Metro and sometimes more and at much better prices. Still a few products that Metro offered back in 2006 such as Pastis are now not found anywhere in Changsha.

How does Metro cheat in China works ?

  • The supermarket shuts its eyes and makes no controls on its members.
  • Local authorities also don't control often

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