Fielmann AG in Hamburg is the largest German optician with sales of 1.8 billion euros (2019). Fielmann is a manufacturer as well as a wholesaler and retailer of ophthalmic optics. The entire optical value chain is covered. The company has long since opened up other European markets, but the German domestic market is still of paramount importance. Of the approximately 870 Fielmann branches, a good 600 are located in Germany. Every 20th optician shop in this country belongs to Fielmann. The market shares are even more impressive. In terms of unit sales, the company has a market share of 53 per cent and 22 per cent in terms of sales. The optics chain has more than 20,000 employees. Growth is now mainly taking place in non-German markets. A further 40 Fielmann branches were opened in 2019 alone. This article is based on the unique List of the 400 largest German trading companies.

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Family owned optics wholesale and retail

The first Fielmann store started in 1972 in Cuxhaven. Founder Günter Fielmann consistently expanded his business from there by offering consumers attractive alternatives to the standard spectacles. To this day, reasonably priced spectacles remain the Fielmann success model. The company went public in 1994. Despite the stock exchange listing, Fielmann has remained a family company. Less than 30 per cent of the shares are in free float, the majority of shares are held by Korva SE, which acts as a kind of family office. Smaller shares are held directly by Günter Fielmann and other family members.

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AVAG Holding SE in Augsburg is Germany’s largest vehicle dealer with a turnover of 2.4 billion euros and 130,000 vehicles sold (as of 2019). The AVAG Group currently comprises 55 dealerships with 176 operating facilities. Of these, 40 are authorised dealers with 137 branches in Germany. The trading activities are controlled by various intermediate holding companies: DIO Dienstleistungs- und Beteiligungsgesellschaft (19 dealerships, 83 branches) for the Opel and Kia brands, DIA Albert Still GmbH (20 AVAG operations with 56 locations) for the Ford, Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai, Honda and other brands, and AV International with two holding companies for the markets in Austria and Eastern Europe. This article is based on the unique List of the 400 largest German trading companies.

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AVAG expansion in three waves – Germany, Austria and Eastern Europe

AVAG’s history began in 1915 when master blacksmith Albert Sigg founded a forge workshop in Augsburg. In the 1920s he entered the motorcycle trade. After the Second World War, the focus shifted to car trading. Under his successor Josef Still, the company became an Opel dealership in the 1960s. His son Albert Still developed the company consistently by expanding the location and taking over car dealerships and car dealerships. From the 1970s onwards, the company expanded in three waves. The last wave of expansion began with German reunification and the opening of Eastern Europe. The company in its current form with the holding structure has been in existence since 1991.

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Deichmann SE in Essen is Germany’s and at the same time Europe’s largest shoe retailer with a turnover of 5.8 billion euros (2019). The company has more than 4,200 branches – over 1,400 of them in Germany – and employs almost 43,000 people. Around 40 percent of sales are generated on the German domestic market, the rest in 26 other European countries, in the USA, in China and in Dubai. In Switzerland, the shoe retailer operates under the name Dosenbach, in the Netherlands under van Haren. In 2019 the US shoe chain KicksUSA was taken over. More than 180 million shoes are sold every year. The company operates exclusively as a retailer and buys its shoes from third-party companies – preferably from Asia. This article is based on the unique List of the 400 largest German trading companies.

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From a shoe workshop in Essen to the international shoe trade

The Deichmann story began in 1913 with a shoe repair shop in the Borbeck district of Essen. After the First World War, company founder Heinrich Deichmann started selling shoes. But the rise to a shoe chain did not begin until after the Second World War. In 1963 the company had 13 shops in the Ruhr area. After that the nationwide expansion started and from the 1970s on the internationalisation. In 1973 the Swiss shoe chain Dosenbach was taken over. Several other takeovers were to follow. In 2000 Deichmann was one of the first shoe suppliers to open an online shop. There are now 40 Deichmann online shops.

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With a turnover of 6.9 billion euros (2018), hagebau is Germany’s largest DIY store company. The brand name “hagebau” stands for “trading company for building materials”. The trade in building materials, wood, tiles and garden equipment has been a successful business model for decades. hagebau is not a group of companies in the classic sense, but a group of companies supported by around 360 medium-sized wholesalers and retailers. They are the shareholders of hagebau. The organisational bracket is formed by hagebau Handelsgesellschaft für Baustoffe mbH & Co. KG in Soltau in the Lüneburg Heath. There are around 1,700 hagebau locations. They are located in the DACH region, in the Benelux countries, in France and in Spain. The business focus is in Germany. This article is based on the unique List of the 400 largest German trading companies.

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365 DIY stores in Germany and Austria

hagebau started in 1964 as a purchasing association of 34 specialist building material dealers. The business activities of the hagebau group are differentiated into different market appearances. A central distribution channel for the retail trade are the 365 hagebau markets in Germany and Austria. They are operated as a franchise system. In addition, there are the Hagebau centres as a combination of specialist and retail trade. Another market presence is Werkers Welt, a hagebau subsidiary that operates small-format DIY stores. In addition, hagebau stands for around 900 building material specialist shops as well as tile and wood specialist shops. The range of products in the specialist trade divisions is aimed at both commercial customers and private end consumers.

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Duisburg-based Klöckner & Co SE is Germany’s largest steel and metal distributor with sales of €6.3 billion (2019). The company is not a steel producer, but restricts itself exclusively to trading. With around 8,500 employees and 160 locations, Klöckner & Co is active in 13 countries around the globe. The company serves around 100,000 corporate customers worldwide – both medium-sized companies and large corporations. On the customer side, the main industries are the construction industry and mechanical and plant engineering. In addition to trading and distribution, Klöckner also offers its customers warehousing, consulting and other services. This article is based on the unique List of the 400 largest German trading companies.

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Klöckner & Co SE as umbrella with subsidiaries in Europe and overseas

The company, founded by the merchant Peter Klöckner, started as early as 1906 as the trading company Klöckner & Co. From the very beginning the founder was committed to expansion, and the company grew rapidly. The two World Wars each meant deep cuts with great challenges, but Klöckner was always able to master them successfully. Since 1997 the group has concentrated on its traditional core business: steel and metal trading. Klöckner & Co SE functions as the corporate umbrella and is the parent company for a large number of Group companies, most of which are regionally based. In addition to the German Klöckner companies, there are subsidiaries for Belgium, Brazil, the rest of the DACH region, France, Great Britain, Mexico, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

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The dm-drogerie markt GmbH + Co KG in Karlsruhe is not only Germany’s largest drugstore chain with a turnover of 11.2 billion euros (2018/19), but also the number 1 drugstore chain in Europe. Around 3,700 dm stores with a total of 62,000 employees ensure a nationwide presence. The focus of the business is in Germany. The 2000 German dm stores with 41,000 employees achieved a turnover of 8.4 billion euros in the 2018/19 financial year. This corresponds to a sales share of 75 percent of the total group. The market share for drugstore articles in Germany is approximately one quarter. This article is based on the unique List of the 400 largest German trading companies.

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Expansion from Germany via Austria to Central and South-Eastern Europe

The company founder Götz Werner opened the first dm drugstore in Karlsruhe in 1973. He used the abolition of the legal price fixing for drugstore articles and the spread of the self-service principle in the retail trade in the 1970s as a business model. This was followed by years of rapid expansion, and the path to Austria was already taken in 1976. Here dm drogerie markt GmbH in Wals-Siezenheim, Austria, operates as a subgroup within the dm group. Under the umbrella of the Austrian subsidiary, the company also expanded into Central and South-Eastern Europe. Strong dm markets (number of branches in brackets) include Hungary (260), the Czech Republic (232), Croatia (161), Slovakia (146) and Romania (105).

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BayWa AG in Munich is Germany’s largest agricultural trading company with a turnover of 17.1 billion euros (2019). The name BayWa has tradition. The company can look back on a history of almost 100 years. Today, BayWa is a conglomerate with a strong focus on agricultural trading. Trading in seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and feedstuff is the core business. BayWa is also a leading supplier of dessert fruit. The agricultural trade accounts for around 70 percent of revenues. Other segments are energy trading (fuels, combustibles and lubricants) and construction (building materials trading and construction services). BayWa employs around 18,000 people. This article is based on the unique List of the 400 largest German trading companies.

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Agricultural trade not only in Bavaria

BayWa was founded in 1923 as the trade organisation of the Bavarian Raiffeisen cooperatives. Until today there is a strong connection to the Bavarian Raiffeisen group. Through Bayerische Raiffeisen-Beteiligungs-Aktiengesellschaft, it holds a stake of almost 35 percent in BayWa. For decades, BayWa’s business was concentrated in Bavaria. This changed with reunification. BayWa also established locations in Saxony, southern Thuringia and southern Brandenburg through a franchise system. From the mid-1990s onwards, the business was expanded towards Austria and, in 1999, led to a strategic alliance with RWA Raiffeisen Ware Austria. In 2002, the Württembergische Warenzentrale WLZ Raiffeisen AG was taken over. Regardless of the locations, agricultural trade has long since taken place worldwide.

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Essen-based Brenntag AG is Germany’s largest chemicals distributor with sales of 12.8 billion euros (2019). Brenntag has more than 17,000 employees and a global network of 580 locations in 73 countries. The company operates exclusively in the B2B business. Its business purpose is the trading of chemicals and the processing of specialty chemicals. The company describes itself as the world market leader in manufacturer-independent chemical trading and offers its customers a comprehensive range of more than 10,000 different chemicals. This article is based on the unique List of the 400 largest German trading companies.

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From egg wholesaler in Berlin to world market leader in chemical trade

The history of Brenntag begins in 1875 with an egg wholesaler founded by Philipp Mühsam in Berlin. Later, the company shifted its focus to trading in pharmaceuticals and, from 1912, to trading in chemicals. In 1936 the company had to be sold to the entrepreneur Hugo Stinnes jr. in the course of the Aryanization. The Mühsam company became Brenntag Brennstoff-Chemikalien und Transport AG. During the Second World War, the company headquarters were relocated to the Ruhr area. Until 2004 Brenntag belonged to Stinnes AG, which was bought by Deutsche Bahn in 2003. The Deutsche Bahn sold Brenntag again to an investor the following year. After a further sale, the company was floated on the stock exchange in 2010 and is now completely free float.

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With sales of 25.8 billion euros (2018/19), PHOENIX Pharma SE in Mannheim is Germany’s largest pharmaceutical distributor and is also a force to be reckoned with internationally. PHOENIX employs around 36,000 people and is active in 27 countries. Approximately 56,000 pharmacies are supplied. In Germany, the business is managed under the umbrella of PHOENIX Pharmahandel GmbH & Co KG, a subsidiary of PHOENIX Pharma SE. With sales of 8.7 billion euros (2018/19), the German PHOENIX represents a good third of PHOENIX’s sales. The German market share is around 28 percent. PHOENIX SE is not only a pharmaceutical distributor, but also operates its own pharmacies in several countries through several chains – a total of 2,500 pharmacies, making it Europe’s largest pharmacy operator. This article is based on the unique List of the 400 largest German trading companies.

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Part of the Merckle group of companies

The PHOENIX Group in its current form has been in existence since 1994, when the entrepreneur Adolf Merckle took over several pharmaceutical distributors in the early 1990s. These were brought together under the umbrella of PHOENIX. PHOENIX is still part of the Merckle group of companies – a conglomerate that is active not only in pharmaceutical production and trade but also in mechanical engineering, the building materials and cement industry and other areas. The core of the group is the pharmaceutical manufacturer Merckle GmbH. Important participations exist in Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG, the Zollern Group and HeidelbergCement.

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The largest consumer electronics retailer in Germany is CECONOMY AG in Düsseldorf with a turnover of 21.5 billion euros (2018/19). CECONOMY was created in 2017 by splitting up the old Metro Group. It unites under its roof the consumer electronics division of the former group. The food division will be continued within METRO AG. It was hoped that the separation would lead to a better development of both divisions. CECONOMY operates the consumer electronics centers Saturn and Mediamarkt. There are about 1000 Media and Saturn stores in 14 European countries including Turkey. More than 40 percent of them are located in Germany, other countries with a strong presence are Italy (115), Poland (86), Spain (85) and Turkey (71). This article is based on the unique List of the 400 largest German trading companies.

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Majority owned stores of MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group (Ingolstadt)

In organizational terms, the Ingolstadt-based MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group (Media-Saturn-Holding GmbH) acts as an umbrella and bracket for the stores. The individual Media and Saturn stores are managed as legally independent companies. The MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group holds the majority of capital in each case, the store managers are minority shareholders – usually with a 10 percent stake. The CECONOMY Group employs around 62,000 people. The largest shareholder in both CECONOMY and METRO AG is the family-run investment holding company Franz Haniel & Cie. It holds a stake of slightly less than one quarter in CECONOMY.

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With sales of €27.1 billion (2019), METRO AG in Düsseldorf is Germany’s highest-turnover wholesale company. The name “Metro” has been around since 1963 when the first Metro wholesale store opened in Essen. However, today’s METRO AG was not created until 2017. At that time, the old Metro Group was split into two successor groups in a complicated restructuring process: METRO and CECONOMY. METRO AG thereby combined the food division of the group with the Metro Cash & Carry stores and the supermarket chain Real. In February 2020, however, the new group divested itself of Real. In principle, only the Metro wholesale stores remained. This article is based on the unique List of the 400 largest German trading companies.

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Metro wholesale stores in 27 countries in Europe and Asia

In terms of wholesale stores, METRO is internationally positioned – with a focus on Europe and Asia. Of the total of around 760 Metro Cash & Carry stores, just over 100 are located in Germany. They are operated under the umbrella of Metro Deutschland GmbH. In total, there are Metro wholesale stores in 27 countries. In Europe, France is the country with the most Metro locations besides Germany (almost 100 stores). Outside Europe, the most important Metro countries (number of stores in brackets, as of 2019) are Russia (68), China (64), Ukraine (33), Turkey (27), Vietnam (19) and India (14). METRO AG employs a total of more than 100,000 people.

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The EDEKA ZENTRALE AG & Co. KG in Hamburg is the largest food retail group in Germany with a turnover of 55.7 billion euros (2019). EDEKA is a mixture of a corporate group and a cooperative structure. The basis of the network is formed by around 4,500 independent EDEKA retailers with approx. 6,000 supermarkets throughout Germany. The EDEKA ZENTRALE is the organisational bracket. It holds half the shares in each of the 7 EDEKA regional companies and is the parent company of Netto Marken-Discount AG & Co. KG. This stands for around 4,200 Netto discount stores in Germany. There are also a number of regional discount lines. In addition, the company operates a number of bakery and beverage chains, over 100 “Cash & Carry” wholesale stores and various specialist stores. This article is based on the unique List of the 400 largest German trading companies.

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From Berlin colonial goods trader to the largest German trading company

The name EDEKA is the abbreviation for “Einkaufsgenossenschaft der Kolonialwarenhändler im Halleschen Torbezirk zu Berlin”. The EDEKA group started with the merger of 21 Berlin retail merchants in 1898, which has developed into Germany’s largest trading company and the largest German food retailer over the course of more than 120 years. The historical name already refers to food as a focal point and the cooperative principle. Today, the EDEKA group employs a total of around 381,000 people. This makes it one of the largest employers in the country. The market share in the food business is a good 26 percent.

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Trade with a focus on export and import has had a decisive influence on Hamburg’s development. Today, the Free and Hanseatic City is still an important trading location. These are the 3 largest Hamburg trading companies: This article is based on the unique Database of the 400 largest retail and wholesale companies in Germany.

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Place 1: EDEKA ZENTRALE AG & Co. KG, Hamburg: 55.7 billion euros turnover (2019)

Even though EDEKA has its origins in Berlin, the fortunes of the group of companies – Germany’s number 1 in food trading – are managed from the EDEKA ZENTRALE in Hamburg. It holds the majority in each of the 7 EDEKA regional companies and forms the bracket for important EDEKA branches such as Netto, various beverage and bakery chains.

Place 2: Otto (GmbH & Co KG), Hamburg: 14.26 billion euros turnover (2018/19)

Otto was founded in Hamburg in 1949 as a mail order company and is one of the largest family businesses in Germany. Today, Otto has developed into a globally operating trading and service group. The focus is strongly on online trading. Almost three quarters of the company’s turnover is generated in this area. Otto competes here with Amazon & Co.

Place 3: Tchibo GmbH, Hamburg: 3.2 billion euros turnover (2018)

The coffee trade has a long tradition in Hamburg. Sending coffee by post – that was the idea when Tchibo was founded in 1949, and it developed into one of the largest German consumer goods and retail companies with around 1,000 Tchibo branches, two-thirds of which are in Germany. The company is 100 per cent family-owned.

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As the federal state with the largest population, North Rhine-Westphalia is an important location for trade. Of the 40 largest trading companies in Germany, 12 are based on the Rhine and Ruhr rivers. These are the 3 largest NRW trading companies: This article is based on the unique Database of the 400 largest retail and wholesale companies in Germany.

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Place 1: REWE Deutscher Supermarkt AG & Co. KGaA, Cologne: 55.4 billion euros turnover (2019)

REWE is the abbreviation for “Revisionsverband der Westkauf-Genossenschaften” (auditing association of Westkauf cooperatives) and refers to the fact that the company’s beginnings already lay in what is now North Rhine-Westphalia. In the meantime, REWE has become the number 2 in German food trading. There are approximately 3,600 REWE stores in the Federal Republic of Germany. The Cologne-based Penny-Markt GmbH is part of the REWE Group.

Place 2: METRO AG, Düsseldorf: 27.1 billion euros turnover (2018/19)

METRO AG was created in 2017 from the old Metro Group and combines the food and wholesale market divisions of the former company. The group’s worldwide activities are managed from Düsseldorf with around 760 Metro Cash & Carry stores in 25 countries. In Germany there are Metro wholesale stores, 18 of them in North Rhine-Westphalia alone.

Place 3: CECONOMY AG, Düsseldorf: 21.5 billion euros sales (2018/19)

CECONOMY also has its origins in the former Metro Group. Following the split into CECONOMY and METRO AG the company continues its consumer electronics activities. With the chains Mediamarkt and Saturn, zCECONOMY is one of the largest suppliers of electronic goods in Europe. Operationally, the business is managed by the MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group.

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Baden-Württemberg is a classic industrial location in Germany. Automobile manufacturing and mechanical engineering are of disproportionate importance. Nevertheless, one can also find large trading companies in the Ländle. Here the TOP 3 at a glance: This article is based on the unique Database of the 400 largest retail and wholesale companies in Germany.

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Place 1: PHOENIX Pharmahandel GmbH & Co KG, Mannheim: 25.8 billion euros turnover (2018/19)

The Mannheim-based company PHOENIX Pharmahandel is Germany’s leading distributor of pharmaceuticals and healthcare products. The company is part of the Merckle group of companies, which is also strongly located in Baden-Württemberg. PHOENIX is an international pharmaceutical retailer supplying approximately 56,000 pharmacies

Place 2: GEHE Pharma Handel GmbH, Stuttgart: 21.2 billion Euro turnover (McKesson Europe, 2019)

GEHE Pharma Handel will soon be known under a different name, as the merger with Alliance Healthcare Deutschland AG, another wholesaler, has already been decided. GEHE, as a subsidiary of McKesson Europe AG, belongs to the US group McKesson and represents about one seventh of the German pharmaceutical wholesale trade. McKesson is to hold 30 percent of the new company.

Place 3: dm-drogerie markt GmbH + Co KG, Karlsruhe: 11.2 billion euros turnover (2018/19)

dm is Europe’s largest drugstore chain with 62,000 employees and approximately 3,700 branches. About 75 percent of its turnover is generated in Germany, where more than half of its branches are also located. The company has been in existence since 1973 and has expanded rapidly since then. Internationally, the dm focus is on Central and Southeast Europe.

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With around 102,000 companies, over 750,000 employees and a turnover of 374 billion euros, trade is an important economic factor in Bavaria. Several important trading companies are also based here. These are the 3 largest in the Free State: This article is based on the unique Directory of the 400 largest retail and wholesale companies in Germany.

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Place 1: BAYWA AG, Munich: 17.1 billion euros turnover (2019)

BAYWA has its origins in the rural commodity business and was founded in 1923 as a cooperative wholesaler for the rural commodity cooperatives. In the course of the following 100 years or so, it has developed into a large conglomerate with trade and services in the fields of agriculture, energy and construction. With a share of around 70 percent, the agricultural business still forms the core business.

Place 2: Ingram Micro Distribution GmbH, Aschheim-Dornach: 6.2 billion euros turnover (2018)

Ingram Micro in Irvine, California, is considered the world’s largest distributor of information and communication technology (ICT). The subsidiary Ingram Micro Distribution in Aschheim-Dornach near Munich serves the German market. Through the acquisition of the ICT dealer Macatron, Ingram Micro Distribution became the number 1 in ICT trade in Germany. The company has a large logistics center in Straubing and 3 other German branches.

Place 3: Sanacorp Pharmahandel GmbH, Planegg: 4.6 billion Euro turnover (2019)

The origins of Sanacorp date back to 1924, when Württemberg pharmacists founded a purchasing cooperative. Through numerous mergers and organic growth, this developed into one of the largest pharmaceutical distributors in Germany. Today Sanacorp supplies pharmacies throughout Germany with medicines and health products and has 17 branches throughout Germany.

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Industrial trade is an exclusive B2B business and comprises the trade in raw materials and supplies, industrial goods and industrial equipment. These are the 3 largest German industrial trading companies: This article is based on the unique Directory of the 400 largest retail and wholesale companies in Germany.

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Place 1: Klöckner & Co SE, Duisburg: €6.3 billion sales (2019)

The traditional company Klöckner is Germany’s leading steel and metal trader and at the same time the largest industrial trader in terms of sales. The beginnings of the company date back to 1906. Today Klöckner is active in 13 countries in Europe, America, the Middle East and East Asia. More than 100,000 industrial customers are supplied via approximately 160 locations.

Place 2: Carl Spaeter GmbH, Duisburg: 1.4 billion euros sales (2018)

The Spaeter Group in Duisburg goes back to a company founded by Carl Spaeter in 1875 and is active in steel wholesale. From the Basel branch, today’s Spaeter AG – a Swiss dealer in metals, building materials and building services – was created. Both companies operate independently. The Spaeter group is represented at 19 locations in Germany.

Place 3: Rutronik Elektronische Bauelemente GmbH, Ispringen: 1.1 billion euros turnover (2019)

Founded in 1973, Rutronik is Germany’s largest distributor of electronic components, number 3 in Europe and number 11 worldwide in this sector. The trade includes semiconductors, passive and electromechanical components, displays, embedded boards, storage and wireless products. Rutronik has 82 branches in Europe, Asia and America.

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The pharmaceutical trade forms the bridge between pharmaceutical manufacturers on the one hand and pharmacies and health care providers on the other. There are about a dozen pharmaceutical wholesalers in Germany. These are the 3 largest: This article is based on the unique Directory of the 400 largest retail and wholesale companies in Germany.

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Place 1: PHOENIX Pharmahandel GmbH & Co KG, Mannheim: 25.8 billion euros turnover (2018/19)

PHOENIX Pharmahandel is part of the Merckle Group – a German conglomerate focusing on pharmaceutical production and trade. The company operates internationally and supplies a total of around 56,000 pharmacies in 27 countries with drugs and healthcare products. In addition, PHOENIX also operates various pharmacy chains as a retailer.

Place 2: GEHE Pharma Handel GmbH, Stuttgart: 21.2 billion euros turnover (McKesson Europe, 2019)

GEHE Pharma Handel is the German subsidiary of McKesson Europe AG, which in turn is majority-owned by the American McKesson Group. McKesson offers logistics and services in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors. GEHE has a market share of almost 15 percent in Germany. In future, the business will be merged with Alliance Healthcare Deutschland AG in a joint venture.

Place 3: Alliance Healthcare Deutschland AG, Frankfurt/Main: 4.8 billion euros turnover (2018)

The pharmaceutical wholesaler Alliance Healthcare Deutschland is part of the US group Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) and until 2013 was called Andreae-Noris Zahn AG – in short ANZAG. At the end of 2019 the merger with GEHE Pharma Handel in a joint venture was announced. WBA will hold 70 percent of the new company. Alliance Healthcare has a market share of approximately 12 percent. The joint venture would catch up with the industry leader PHOENIX Pharmahandel.

Source: Listenchampion
Picture source: Unsplash

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Trade is one of the central economic sectors in Germany. Trading companies contribute about 16 percent of the gross domestic product and provide a good 3 million jobs. These are the 5 largest trading companies in the Federal Republic: This article is based on the unique List of the 400 largest retail and wholesale companies in Germany.

  • Excel list of the 400 largest retail and wholesale companies in Germany
  • Includes: revenues (2015-2018), number of employees, contact details, executives
  • Download of the Excel file valid indefinitely, free updates within one year after purchase, free preview file available
  • Last update: 14.05.2020

 

Place 1: EDEKA ZENTRALE AG & Co. KG, Hamburg: 55.7 billion euros turnover (2019)

EDEKA is the largest German food retailer. The group and the decentralised cooperative organisation enter into a unique symbiosis. The EDEKA headquarters is the umbrella for 7 regional companies. Around 4,500 independent EDEKA retailers form the basis. The network includes, among others, the discounter Netto, various bakery chains, beverage retailers and self-service department stores.

Place 2: REWE Deutscher Supermarkt AG & Co. KGaA, Cologne: 55.4 billion euros turnover (2019)

With around 3,600 stores, REWE is the number 2 in German food retailing and at the same time Germany’s second largest trading company. Originally organised as a cooperative, Rewe has long since formed a group of companies. The current structure has been in place since 2006, when various supermarket chains of the Group were merged under the REWE brand. The discounter Penny also belongs to REWE.

Place 3: METRO AG, Düsseldorf: 27.1 billion Euro sales (2018/19)

METRO AG was created in 2017 from the split-up of the old Metro Group and combined the retail chains Metro Cash & Carry and Real. The Real stores were sold to an investor group in February 2020. What remained is essentially Metro Cash & Carry – an international wholesale chain with a total of 760 self-service wholesale stores in 25 countries.

Place 4: PHOENIX Pharmahandel GmbH & Co KG, Mannheim: Euro 25.8 billion sales (2018/19)

PHOENIX Pharmahandel is the number 1 pharmaceutical wholesaler in Germany and a leading European healthcare provider. The company belongs to the Merckle Group – a conglomerate with a focus on pharmaceuticals. PHOENIX Pharmahandel supplies 56,000 pharmacies in 27 countries with pharmaceuticals and healthcare products.

Place 5: CECONOMY AG, Düsseldorf: 21.5 billion euros sales (2018/19)

Like METRO AG, CECONOMY was created in 2017 from the split-up of the old Metro Group. Since then the consumer electronics chains Mediamarkt and Saturn have been operating under the new name. In operational terms, the stores are organized under the umbrella of the MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group in Ingolstadt. The individual stores are legally independent units and each is majority-owned by the MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group.

Source: Listenchampion
Picture source: Unsplash

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Lower Saxony is a state well known for the food industry. Food is the second most important branch of industry in Lower Saxony after automobile production. Every eighth German food company is located in Lower Saxony and 67,000 people are employed here. Below are the 3 largest food processors in Lower Saxony:

The companies listed are part of our list of the 200 largest food producers in Germany.

    • Excel list of the 300 top-selling German food manufacturers for download
    • Includes: sales (2015-2018), number of employees, e-mail, address, telephone number, management, etc.
    • Detailed information on the industry (dairy, bakeries, meat products, confectionery, coffee & tea, beverage producers & breweries, food chemistry, fish, etc.)
    • Download of the Excel file valid indefinitely, free updates within one year after purchase, free preview file available
    • Last update: 14.05.2020

1st place: DMK Deutsches Milchkontor GmbH, Zeven: 5.6 billion euros turnover (2018)

The merger of Nordmilch AG and Humana Milchindustrie GmbH gave rise to DMK in 2011. Both predecessor companies were already the largest milk processors in Germany. This leading position applies all the more to DMK with its approx. 7,000 employees. Despite its focus on Lower Saxony, DMK is positioned nationwide. 7,000 active milk producers and cooperatives from 12 federal states are the owners of DMK, which are organised as cooperatives and have a share of over 90 percent.

2nd place: Nordzucker AG, Braunschweig: 1.4 billion Euro turnover (2018/19)

Nordzucker AG was formed in 1997 from the merger of Braunschweiger Zuckerverbund Nord AG (ZVN) and Zucker-Aktiengesellschaft Uelzen-Braunschweig (ZAG). It is the leading sugar producer in northern Germany and employs about 3,200 people at 18 locations. Norzuckers produces sugar in all forms for household use – crystal sugar, liquid sugar, refined sugar, powdered sugar, cube sugar and gelling sugar. It also produces bioethanol and sugar beet-based animal feed.

3rd place: heristo holding gmbh, Bad Rothenfelde: 1.3 billion euro revenues (2018)

heristo is a family-run food company and can trace its origins back to the Westphalian meat products factory Stockmeyer, founded in 1913. Even today, meat processing and sausage products still play a major role. In addition, heristo produces for a wide range of other food products (including ready meals, delicatessen, vegan food) and pet food. Another business area is wholesale and food products for foreign trade.

Picture source: Jagoda Kondratiuk

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The food trade represents the interface between the food industry and the end consumer. In Germany, it is oligopolistic in character. Only a few large corporations or associations shape the food trade. These are the TOP 3: This article is based on the unique database of the 400 largest retail and wholesale companies in Germany.

  • Excel list of the 400 largest retail and wholesale companies in Germany
  • Includes: revenues (2015-2018), number of employees, contact details, executives
  • Download of the Excel file valid indefinitely, free updates within one year after purchase, free preview file available
  • Last update: 14.05.2020

Place 1: EDEKA ZENTRALE AG & Co. KG, Hamburg: 55.7 billion euros turnover (2019)

EDEKA stands for “Einkaufsgenossenschaft der Kolonialwarenhändler im Halleschen Torbezirk zu Berlin” and shows the origin of Germany’s largest grocery retailer. EDEKA is still organised as a cooperative – but with strong group structures. The Hamburg EDEKA ZENTRALE is the roof and the bracket of the group. The basis is formed by about 4,500 EDEKA merchants with about 6,000 EDEKA stores.

Place 2: REWE Deutscher Supermarkt AG & Co. KGaA, Cologne: 55.4 billion euros turnover (2019)

REWE in its current form has been around since 2006, but the beginnings of Germany’s second-largest food retailer can be traced back to 1927. REWE became number 2 primarily through acquisitions of various supermarket chains. These were brought together in 2006 with a new organisation and a uniform appearance under the “REWE” brand. Around 3,600 supermarkets belong to REWE.

Place 3: METRO AG, Düsseldorf: 27.1 billion euros turnover (2018/19)

The name “Metro” is old. But METRO AG has only existed since 2017, when the old Metro Group was split up. Following the sale of the Real supermarket chain, METRO AG mainly comprises the Metro Cash & Carry wholesale stores. The company operates globally with a focus on Europe, Russia, India and East Asia. In total, there are about 760 Metro stores, of which slightly more than 100 are in Germany.

Source: Listenchampion
Picture source: Unsplash

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Wholesalers offer goods in larger quantities to industrial, retail and other large customers. Wholesale exists in every trade sector. The boundaries to retail trade are sometimes blurred. These are the 3 largest German wholesale companies: This article is based on the unique List of the 400 largest retail and wholesale companies in Germany.

  • Excel list of the 400 largest retail and wholesale companies in Germany
  • Includes: revenues (2015-2018), number of employees, contact details, executives
  • Download of the Excel file valid indefinitely, free updates within one year after purchase, free preview file available
  • Last update: 14.05.2020

Place 1: METRO AG, Düsseldorf: 27.1 billion Euro sales (2018/19)

The name METRO is well-known, but the group has only existed in its current form since 2017. Following the sale of the Real supermarket chain at the beginning of 2020, METRO AG still essentially comprises the Metro Cash & Carry wholesale stores. They offer an extensive assortment with a focus on food and are also open to private customers. There are over 100 Metro stores in Germany and 760 worldwide.

Place 2: PHOENIX Pharmahandel GmbH & Co KG, Mannheim: €25.8 billion sales (2018/19)

As a pharmacist you can hardly get past PHOENIX. The company, which belongs to the Merckle Group, supplies around 56,000 pharmacies in Europe with medicines and health products. Approximately one third of the company’s revenues are generated in Germany, with a market share of 28 percent. PHOENIX is not only a pharmaceutical wholesaler, but also runs approximately 2,500 pharmacies.

Place 3: BRENNTAG AG, Essen: 12.8 billion euros turnover (2019)

The Essen-based BRENNTAG AG is the global market leader in chemical wholesale. BRENNTAG was bought by Deutsche Bahn in 2003 and sold to an investor in 2004. Following a further sale, the listed company has been in full free float since 2012. BRENNTAG connects chemical producers with the processing industry and offers a comprehensive range of chemicals.

Source: Listenchampion
Picture source: Unsplash

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In 2019, the German retail trade generated sales totalling 540 billion euros. Despite the growing importance of e-commerce, stationary trade is still a significant factor. In addition to many small retailers, there are a few big players – here is an overview of the 5 largest German retail companies. This article is based on the unique List of the 400 largest retail and wholesale companies in Germany.

  • Excel list of the 400 largest retail and wholesale companies in Germany
  • Includes: revenues (2015-2018), number of employees, contact details, executives
  • Download of the Excel file valid indefinitely, free updates within one year after purchase, free preview file available
  • Last update: 14.05.2020

Place 1: EDEKA ZENTRALE AG & Co. KG, Hamburg: 55.7 billion euros turnover (2019)

The Hamburg-based EDEKA ZENTRALE is at the head of a large group of companies that is the number 1 in German food retailing. EDEKA developed at the end of the 19th century from a merger of Berlin colonial goods traders. Today, the EDEKA network includes around 4,500 independent retailers with over 6,000 food markets. The EDEKA ZENTRALE forms the umbrella with 7 regional companies.

Place 2: REWE Deutscher Supermarkt AG & Co. KGaA, Cologne: 55.4 billion euros turnover (2019)

The second largest German retailer also belongs to the food industry. REWE’s origins go back to the Weimar Republic. After the Second World War, the REWE organisation grew by acquiring various supermarket chains. These have been managed under the REWE umbrella brand since 2006. Only the discounter Penny retained its own image. Around 3,600 stores belong to REWE.

Place 3: CECONOMY AG, Düsseldorf: 21.5 billion euros turnover (2018/19)

Only a few people know the name CECONOMY. The consumer electronics stores Mediamarkt and Saturn, on the other hand, are known to most consumers. They form the core business of CECONOMY, which operates under the umbrella of the MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group. CECONOMY has only been in existence since 2017 and was formed in the context of a complicated split-up of the former Metro Group.

Place 4: Otto (GmbH & Co KG), Hamburg: 14.26 billion euros in sales (2018/19)

The family business Otto grew up with the classic mail order business and is now one of the largest online retailers worldwide after Amazon. The retail trade is the core business of the group, which operates around 100 online shops. In addition to e-commerce, the company continues to be active in brick-and-mortar retail and mail order.

Place 5: GLOBUS Holding GmbH & Co. KG, St. Wendel: 7.7 billion euros turnover (2018/19)

The GLOBUS retail chain was created from a colonial goods shop opened in 1828 in St. Wendel in Saarland. The GLOBUS Holding forms the bracket for various trading divisions of the group with hypermarkets, DIY stores and consumer electronics stores. The company operates under the names of GLOBUS (hypermarkets), GLOBUS Baumarkt and hela Profi (DIY stores) and Alphatecc (consumer electronics stores).Source: Listenchampion Picture source: Unsplash

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Meat is still a valuable part of society’s diet. Every German citizen consumes on average around 60 kg of meat per year – two-third of which is pork. This puts Germany in the middle of the international field in terms of meat consumption and still slightly below the EU average. Nevertheless, meat processing is an important branch of the economy. Here are the 3 largest meat companies at a glance.

The listed companies are part of our list of the 200 largest food producers in Germany.

    • Excel list of the 300 top-selling German food manufacturers for download
    • Includes: sales (2015-2018), number of employees, e-mail, address, telephone number, management, etc.
    • Detailed information on the industry (dairy, bakeries, meat products, confectionery, coffee & tea, beverage producers & breweries, food chemistry, fish, etc.)
    • Download of the Excel file valid indefinitely, free updates within one year after purchase, free preview file available
    • Last update: 14.05.2020

1st place: Tönnies Lebensmittel GmbH & Co. KG, Rheda-Wiedenbrück: 7.3 billion euros turnover (2019)

Tönnies is one of the largest slaughterhouses for pigs and cattle in Germany, as well as a meat processor and meat refiner. The company, which employs around 7,000 people, is family-owned. It was founded in 1971 as a meat and sausage wholesaler in Rheda, North Rhine-Westphalia. In addition to Germany, Tönnies has production facilities in Denmark, Poland, Great Britain and France. More than 20 million pigs are slaughtered at Tönnies every year, around three quarters of which are in Germany.

2nd place: Westfleisch SCE, Münster: 2.8 billion euros turnover (2019)

Westfleisch is a cooperative slaughterhouse and meat processor with locations in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony. Members and owners are composed of more than 4,000 farmers and the origins of the company date back to 1928. Today, around 1 million tons of meat are sold and more than 8 million pigs slaughtered each year. About 40 percent of the meat is exported.

3rd place: heristo holding gmbh, Bad Rothenfelde: 1.3 billion euros turnover (2018)

At the beginning of heristo there was a small butcher’s shop and restaurant in Versmold. In 1913 it became the Westphalian meat product factory Stockmeyer. It still forms the core of the heristo group today. heristo is a family-owned German food company with a focus on meat processing and sausage products. The Stockmeyer Group is responsible for this within the group. Other business areas include delicatessen (fish), ready meals, vegan nutrition and pet food. heristo has about 3,000 employees.

Picture source: José Ignacio Pompé

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Apart from East Frisia, Germany is not a classic tea country. Compared to countries like Turkey, Great Britain, Ireland or Russia, the consumption of tea is limited. On average, each German citizen consumes a good 1.5 pounds of tea per year. Nevertheless, there are some well-known tea companies in this country. These are the 3 largest.

The listed companies are part of our list of the 200 largest food producers in Germany.

    • Excel list of the 300 top-selling German food manufacturers for download
    • Includes: sales (2015-2018), number of employees, e-mail, address, telephone number, management, etc.
    • Detailed information on the industry (dairy, bakeries, meat products, confectionery, coffee & tea, beverage producers & breweries, food chemistry, fish, etc.)
    • Download of the Excel file valid indefinitely, free updates within one year after purchase, free preview file available
    • Last update: 14.05.2020

1st place: J. Bünting Teehandelshaus GmbH & Comp., Leer: 1.5 billion euros turnover (2018)

The Bünting Group is headquartered in Leer – in the middle of Germany’s No. 1 tea region East Frisia. J. Bünting Teehandelshaus GmbH & Comp., founded in 1806, is the core company of the group. East Frisian tea is still the best-known Bünting product. Apart from tea, Bünting is also involved in other businesses and operates various supermarkets, hypermarkets and food discount stores in the northwest of Germany. The group, which is divided into numerous individual companies, employs a total of over 12,000 people.

2nd place: Martin Bauer GmbH & Co. KG, Vestenbergsgreuth: > 600 million euros turnover (2019)

The Martin Bauer Group in Vestenbergsgreuth in Central Franconia can trace its origins back to 1930. Herbal, fruit and medicinal teas, flavoured black and green teas form the core business of the company. In addition, Martin Bauer also supplies tea, herbal and fruit extracts for the production of hot and cold drinks, dairy products, baby food and confectionery. The extracts are also used in phytopharmaceuticals and food supplements. The group consists of over 20 companies operating worldwide and has over 4,000 employees.

Place 3: Teekanne GmbH & Co. KG, Düsseldorf: sales of 267 million euros (2017/18)

Teekanne was founded in 1882 in Dresden as a tea shop. The brand “Teekanne” has been around since 1888 and Teekanne is considered the inventor of the teabag when the first teabags were launched in 1929. After the 2nd World War the company was rebuilt in the West. Today, Teekanne is the world’s leading tea bag manufacturer with an annual output of more than 7.5 billion tea bags. Teekanne employs around 1,200 people and is represented in 8 countries.

Picture source: Manki Kim

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