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Germany: Woolworth is planning thousands of new stores, but no online shop

Discount Variety Retail Chain Woolworth wants to expand strongly in Europe in the next few years. "The potential is huge. In the medium term, we see 5,000 Woolworth stores in Europe, more than 1,500 of them in Germany," said Woolworth's CEO and co-shareholder, Roman Heini (ex-Lidl USA and Aldi UK CEO), to the newspapers of the Funke media group.


The discount chain already operates more than 630 stores in Germany. By the end of the 2023/24 financial year, there will be 20 stores in Poland and 8 stores in Austria. "There is still great potential for our business model in Southern and Eastern Europe." The German Woolworth GmbH, headquartered in Unna, owns the trademark rights to Woolworth for the whole of Europe, including Great Britain. "I see the discount market continuing to grow. We're just getting started," Heini said. He expects the non-food discount market to develop in a similar way to the food market. "In Europe, there is still no dominant player in the non-food and fashion sector. However, this market will continue to grow over the next 10 to 15 years and consolidate to a few providers. The Woolworth brand has the potential and opportunity to play a leading role." The Woolworth CEO deliberately does not focus on online retail: "I don't see the future of the discounter in the online business. The costs for shipping and returns are too high for that," Heini told the Funke newspapers. "The logistics costs would have to be added to the prices of the items. So they would cost more than in the store. The cost of the item is therefore disproportionate to the cost of transport." According to Heini, "there will be no online store at Woolworths, at least not for the next three to five years. We believe in brick-and-mortar retail."



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