Austria's Billa Sees Network Expansion In 2017
Austrian retailer Billa has said that it expanded its network of stores and services in 2017, while online sales were up by 40% compared to the previous year.
The retailer opened 31 new stores in 2017 and renovated 48 existing shops, leading to a total of 1,069 stores across the country.
It also opened its first Billa drive-in store in Vienna, which allows customers to quickly collect products ordered online from their car.
Billa, which is part of Germany's Rewe Group, said it is determined to cover the growing demand of the greater Vienna area, especially with its recently-opened food fulfilment centre, which handles exclusively online orders.
“In 2017, we have come a good bit closer to our goal of becoming the all-round provider of Austrian households,” said Robert Nagele, CEO of Billa. “With Austria’s first drive-in supermarket, we are breaking new ground in every respect with regards to household supply.”
At 690 of its stores, the retailer offers parcel services in cooperation with the logistics company DHL.
“We deliver products ordered online to any postcode in Austria – no other food retailer does that,” Nagele added.
Looking at the past year in review, the retailer says that it remains forward-looking and reliable as one of the largest employers in Austria.
The company hired 580 new employees in 2017, raising its staff number to 19,650. It has also added 407 new apprentices to its total of 1,002 trainees.
“We are proud that for the first time we can welcome 11 apprentices who will receive a digital apprenticeship,” Nagele said. “We are the only food retailer in Austria that has put digitisation and technology on the curriculum.”
“With the launch of the ‘My Billa’ employee app, the year 2017 not only opened up a new chapter in our internal communications, but it also enabled us to strengthen the spirit of our community,” he added.
Billa adds that it donated around €300,000 throughout 2017. Additionally, it gave away food worth €15 million.
For every package of its private-label pet food sold, the retailer donated one cent to the Austrian animal welfare association, with the total sum amounting to €100,000, it said.
"Responsibility is not an empty word for us, but a daily practice,” Nagele said. “This is exactly what shapes our understanding as a household supplier, which is and can be much more than a supermarket.”
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Kevin Duggan. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.