Frans Muller, head of Metro’s Cash & Carry division, said: “In the medium term, the company sees a market potential of up to 10 stores in Egypt with an investment of around €15m in each one.”

The retailer, which is among the five largest in the world, will open its first wholesale store in Cairo in late 2009.

Cairo already has two branches of Carrefour, the French supermarket chain.

The stores at Smart Village, home to many of the country’s largest companies, and Maadi are operated by Carrefour’s franchise owner in the Middle East, Majid al-Futtaim of the UAE.

“With a population of nearly 80 million people and a rapidly growing economy, Egypt offers great potential for our self-service wholesale,” Muller said.