23 January 2009 | Jake Kanter
METRO Group, one of Europe's biggest retailers, is to decentralise its procurement operation as part of a plan to save ?750 million (£705 million) by 2012.
METRO Group Buying will be devolved and purchasing responsibilities transferred to four sales groups within the company's retail divisions Metro Cash and Carry, electronics groups Media Markt and Saturn, supermarket Real and department store brand Galeria Kaufhof.
The company hopes the new structure will enable the sales groups to target customers more effectively because buyers will now specialise in particular products related to the divisions.
A spokesman for METRO told supplymanagement.com the decision would require changes to the "workforce structure" but refused to confirm if any of the company's 2,100 buyers would lose their jobs. "METRO Group aims at reducing personnel through normal turnover as much as possible. At the moment, we cannot make any specific statements about the size of the reductions," he said.
He added that existing contracts, conditions and supply agreements with vendors would remain unchanged.
Company chairman Eckhard Cordes said in a statement: "Our focus is not just to add up cost-cutting targets. Rather, we intend to exploit the opportunities offered by greater and faster market penetration."