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Germany: Woolworth on the way to 5,000 stores in Europe

Discount Variety Retail Chain Woolworth (owned by Tengelmann) a discounter that mainly offers cheap non-food goods, but also food. According to the Federal Gazette, the company achieved sales of around 462.5 million euros in the 2020 / 2021 financial year, with a minus of around 7.7 million euros due to the Corona crisis. In the previous year, a sales of almost 478.7 million euros was generated on profit of 12 million euros.

Poland is particularly attractive for foreign business

Woolworth is pushing ahead with its expansion plans faster than many experts had thought. This year alone, the non-food retailer plans to open 100 new stores in Germany. In total, Woolworth now has almost 600 stores, with the chain's goal being 1,000 locations throughout Germany.

A strong growth, considering that WOOLWORTH had only overcome its insolvency about 12 years ago. Now foreign countries have also been rediscovered. On May 8, the first location with a sales area of about 1000 square meters abroad was opened in Krakow. Two more are to follow in Poznan and Warsaw before the end of May. In total, up to 400 locations are planned in Poland.

Poland is of interest to many companies. The parent company H.H. Holding (also owned by the German Tengelmann group) has also been active in Poland with TEDi since 2018 and already operates 154 stores. Competitors such as the Dutch company Action (around 250 stores) or the British Pepco Group (around 1,200 stores) have also recognized Poland as a driver of expansion. Pepco was already able to post sales of approximately 1.8 billion euros in the last fiscal year, which was an increase of 24.5 percent.

The Group's subsidiary Dealz is also doing well in Poland with almost 170 stores and was able to achieve net sales of 130 million euros. Dealz is also expanding and plans to open 2023 more locations by autumn 100. In contrast to Dealz, which is not yet able to report profits, this already looks very positive for Action with a pre-tax return of 3.1 percent.

WOOLWORTH with an eventful history

Woolworths has had a very eventful history. Founded in 1879 by Frank Winfield Woolworth in the USA, the company made the leap to Germany in 1926. In the wake of the insolvency of the US parent company, the last department stores in the USA were closed in 1997. The German subsidiary became self-employed in 1998 as part of a management buy-out. The term management buy-out refers to the purchase of a company by its management.

In 2007, the British investment and consulting company Argyll Partners took over the operational business of WOOLWORT Germany. In 2009, the company had to file for bankruptcy. Through a deal with H. H. Holding, the company was saved and Woolworth GmbH was founded.

It will be exciting to see how the well-known company can continue to consolidate itself in Germany, as well as abroad.


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