As the economic powerhouse of Europe, it's unsurprising that Germany boasts some of the continent's biggest retailers, with the likes of Edeka, REWE, and of course the discounters Aldi and Lidl boasting tens of billions of euro in annual turnover.
It's also, however, the market that has been impacted heavily by inflation, particularly when it comes to energy, over the past year. More recently, even as energy prices have subsided, inflation has remained stubbornly high. Consumer price inflation stood at +7.8% in March, above analyst expectations, but lower than the +9.3% reported in February.
As Michael Albert, chief economist with BGA, the Federal Association of Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services, noted recently, "Declining inflation is in everyone's interest. Citizens and companies expect stable prices and reliable action. That's why we have to switch to an economic policy that improves the supply conditions, modernises and digitises the legal framework and reduces bureaucracy."
Read More: Most Valuable Brands In Germany Revealed: Kantar
In April, GfK reported that consumer sentiment is improving amid declining energy prices and expected wage increases. Heading into May, the consumer sentiment index of the institute witnessed further improvement, reaching -25.7, compared to a slightly upwardly revised -29.3 in April. This marks the seventh consecutive increase in the index,
Here's an overview of the top ten supermarket retail chains in Germany, according to their most recently-available full-year turnover. All data is supplied by Retail-Index (www.retail-index.com).
Turnover: €62.7 billion (2021)
With a turnover of €62.7 billion in 2021, Edeka is the largest supermarket retail chain in Germany. Edeka operates several banners, including Edeka, Marktkauf, Netto, NP Niedrig-Preis, Diska and SPAR Express. Edeka has a network of 11,126 stores (estimated) across the country as of this year. Edeka was founded back in 1898.
2. Lidl & Kaufland
Turnover: €48.4 billion (2021)
Lidl and Kaufland, both part of Germany's Schwarz Group, ranks second with a turnover of €48.4 billion in 2021. Combined, the two retailers operate 3,992 stores across Germany, with Lidl having 3,242 outlets and Kaufland boasting 750 stores.
Read More: Discounter Lidl Marks 50th Anniversary In Germany
Turnover: €33.94 billion (estimated, 2021)
With an estimated turnover of €33.94 billion (as of 2021), REWE operates several banners, including nahkauf, Penny, REWE (Partners), REWE Ihr Kaufpark, REWE, REWE City, REWE Center, and REWE To Go. REWE has a network of 6,725 stores in Germany, of which 2,150 are Penny outlets.
Read More: REWE Group Sees Sales Growth Of 10.4% In FY 2022
Turnover: €30.25 billion (2021)
Discounter Aldi (incorporating both Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd) reported a turnover of €30.25 billion in 2021, putting it in fourth place on the list. It operates 4,186 stores across Germany. The Aldi business dates back more than a century, having been founded in 1913.
Read More: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Aldi Süd
Turnover: €8.2 billion (2020)
Lekkerland is a wholesale and retail company that operates in several European countries. In Germany, Lekkerland has a turnover of €8.2 billion and operates 51,300 stores, making it the market leader in terms of store count. As of 2019, Lekkerland has been part of REWE Group.
Turnover: €5.1 billion (2021)
Bela, also known as Bartels-Langness Handelsgesellschaft, operates several banners, including Bela C&C, Famila, Markant, and Steiskal. The company has a turnover of €5.1 billion and operates 201 stores across Germany, including 100 Familia stores.
7. Metro Cash & Carry
Turnover: €4.7 billion (2021)
With a heritage dating back to 1964, wholesale giant Metro Cash & Carry boasted a turnover of €4.7 billion (as of 2021) and operates 103 stores in Germany (as of 2022).
Read More: Metro Sees Double-Digit Sales Growth In Second Quarter, EBITDA Down
Turnover: €4 billion (estimated, 2021)
Discounter Norma has a portfolio of more than 1,450 stores across Germany and reported an estimated turnover of €4 billion in 2021. The retailer also boasts a presence in France, Austria and the Czech Republic.
Turnover: €1.97 billion (estimated, 2020)
Globus is a hypermarket chain with a presence in several European countries, including Czechia, Luxembourg and Russia. In Germany, the retailer boasts a turnover of €1.97 billion as of 2020, and operates 61 stores (2023).
Read More: Globus Sees Sales Up Double Digits In Full Year
Turnover: €1.71 billion (2021)
Bünting operates several banners, including Combi, Markant, and Minipreis. The company reported a turnover of €1.71 billion in 2021, and operates 267 stores across Germany. Bünting has a longstanding history in Germany, with the company dating back as far as 1806.
Of course, this list only scratches the surface, with the German supermarket sector awash with both national and regional banners. Ranking just outside the top ten are retailers including Hit Handelsgruppe, Tegut, Netto, Alnatura, V-Markt, K+K, Wasgau, Denn's Biomarkt and Lüning. Check www.retail-index.com for a full overview of Germany's supermarket landscape.
Retail-Index is a specialist supplier of management information on consumer retail markets, provided by Veraart Research Group in the Netherlands. Its mission is to supply managers with up-to-date key information on retail markets in Europe and support them in their international expansion.
The company dates back to 1964, when it started as a market research and marketing consulting company for consumer products and services. In 1989, it started publishing written reports on various retail sectors in Europe. As of 2005, it publishes its information on retailers through the online database and curated datasheet exports available on www.retail-index.com. A team of researchers manages the data to reflect upon current developments in the markets, collected from an extensive number of sources.
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© 2023 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.