Managed closure of three massive cash and carry warehouses in Germany, prioritising cash return and customer loyalty.

We were appointed to take care of the strategic closure of three Metro Cash & Carry big box stores.  Following a productivity review of its store portfolio, the dominant global Cash & Carry wholesaler decided to consolidate sales in a particular geographical area, resulting in three German store closures.  The company’s success depends upon an active customer database, especially in the professional trade sector.  A critical factor of the store closure programme was therefore to minimise any potential cannibalistic effects that neighbouring stores might suffer.  In order to avoid this, we did not use external advertising and targeted only the closure stores’ customer databases.  Further research into these databases, analysing customer drive times, dormant customers and those in the top spending quartile, enabled us to focus on converting and transferring these customers to ongoing stores.  We were especially successful in re-activating dormant customers.  A number of strategies were utilised to optimise the cash return for Metro, such as ensuring a fully ranged food offer was maintained for customers until the final day of trading.  This helped to keep customer traffic up and encourage their loyalty to keep spending at the continuing stores.  Our retail expertise helped to ensure that important customer sets were transferred to other stores while the re-merchandising of fast moving consumer goods supported maximised case returns.  Despite the project coinciding with the heaviest snowfall Germany had seen in decades, all goals were achieved.