Microsoft Joins METRO Group Future Store Initiative

NEW YORK, Jan. 12, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that it has joined the Future Store Initiative, international retailer METRO Group’s technology-based vision of the 21st century grocery shopping experience. The first Microsoft®
solutions specifically developed for the project are being unveiled today in the METRO Group Future Store exhibit at the National Retail Federation (NRF) 93rd Annual Convention & Expo 2004.

“Microsoft’s retail perspective and expertise bring together the consumer, the store and the retail enterprise, which fits extremely well with the METRO Group view,” said Zygmunt Mierdorf, member of the management board and chief information officer of METRO Group. “We believe that the future of shopping lies in technology, both in the hands of consumers and extensively, but unobtrusively, deployed throughout the store, to create a more satisfying shopping experience and a more profitable, sustainable business.”

According to Brian Scott, general manager of the Retail & Hospitality Solutions Industry Group at Microsoft, “It is clear that competing on price alone is a losing strategy. Retailers need to differentiate themselves from their competitors by using technology, both to understand individual customers’ wishes, even before they are expressed, and to have the agility and real-time overview to deliver on these aspirations. The new solutions we have created for the METRO Future Store directly address the key business factors that define differentiation: smarter selling, smarter shopping and smarter in-store operations.”

These next-generation Microsoft-based solutions, demonstrated at NRF this week, include real-time retailing solutions that leverage advanced communications capabilities in the store, as well as wireless and mobility applications that empower store managers to make more-informed, timely decisions.

The real-time retailing solutions have been developed in conjunction with Sysrepublic, a Microsoft software development partner. They include fraud detection at the checkout stand and staff scheduling based on customer traffic analysis. Applications such as these take advantage of the IP telephony capabilities that METRO Group is integrating into its stores, real-time application integration capabilities from Microsoft, and in-store wireless devices such as Personal Shopping Assistants.

The Mobile Store Manager’s Workbench, developed in conjunction with Microsoft systems integration partner Wipro Technologies, enables managers to continually monitor key performance indicators such as customer traffic and basket size and take appropriate action to ensure smooth store operations and a high level of customer service.

“With our world-class partners, we are continually proving that the vision of providing an exciting and enjoyable shopping experience is an emerging reality,” Mierdorf said. “Grocery shopping can be a more rewarding experience today for both the customer and the retailer.”

Microsoft-based Future Store solutions will be deployed in METRO Group’s Rheinberg Extra site and will be showcased at upcoming retail industry events, such as Wincor World 2004, Marketechnics 2004 and Retail Systems 2004/VICS Collaborative Commerce.

About METRO Group

Retail — this is the world of the METRO Group, the world’s fifth-largest trading and retailing company. With its customer-receptive, successful brands, the METRO Group has a powerful presence not only in Germany, but also in 28 countries around the world — at more than 2,300 locations and with a work force of almost 240,000 employees.

In the year 2002, the METRO Group generated sales of 51.5 billion. The company represents comprehensive competency in retailing, internationality and a high level of innovation. The six sales divisions of the METRO Group are operating independently on the market, each with specific sales concepts: Metro/Makro Cash & Carry, the world’s leading self-service wholesale store; Real, hypermarkets; Extra, supermarkets; Media Markt and Saturn, the leading consumer electronics centers in Europe; Praktiker, home improvement and DIY centers; and Galeria Kaufhof department stores.

About The METRO Group Future Store Initiative

The “Future of Retailing” is the core subject of the METRO Group Future Store Initiative. It pursues the aim to drive the innovation process in retailing on a national and an international scale. The METRO Group and partner companies from the consumer goods industry and information technology industries sector collaborate within the scope of the initiative. In complex practical applications, their objective is to test and develop the technologies and technical systems that are viable today in complex practical applications. Moreover, the partners create visions and perspectives for the retailing business of the future. In the long term, international standards are to be developed for the retailing sector industries, which can be consistently implemented uniformly throughout the world.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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