October 9, 2001

Talk with Intermarché and Spar HandelsAG

Spar CEO Dr. Fritz Ammann  (photo: Valora)
En compagnie: Spar CEO Fritz Ammann gets a visit from France
In May 1997, I.T.M. Entreprises S.A. (Intermarché) took a majority stake in the moribund German retailer Spar HandelsAG. Since then, the German acquisition has not stopped haemorrhaging money. The leading French retailer co-operative is now bogged down in a morass of heavy restructuring and modernisation costs. On a visit to Spar head office in Schenefeld, near Hamburg, Intermarché president Pierre Gourgeon and Spar CEO Dr. Fritz Ammann insisted that the company had not acquired a pig-in-the-poke. Certainly, finance investors Klaus-Peter Schneidewind & Co. made an advantageous deal! While Gourgeon and Ammann talked about their German horror trip with a studied lack of buyer's remorse, it would be difficult to imagine a more desperate-looking set of men.
October 9, 2001

Talk with Kingfisher CEO Geoffrey Mulcahy

Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy, CEO Kingfisher (photo: Kingfisher)
On a visit to Germany: Geoffrey Mulcahy
Regarded by some as a living legend, quiet-spoken Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy, Group Chief Executive of Kingfisher plc, is surprisingly unpretentious. In fact, his easy-going way makes it hard to understand why he has polarised City opinion during his long career in retailing. This is a man, who was praised to the hilt for turning around what was once FW Woolworth. He then fell like an angel from City grace, only to be returned to relative favour recently. Mulcahy has now split Kingfisher into two separate companies so that the new group can focus on international expansion. Was that his reason for a recent trip to Germany? A talk was arranged to find out in the breakfast room of Munich's famous "Bayrischer Hof". Mulcahy admitted to looking at the "Praktiker" DIY store portfolio. However, he was underwhelmed by the quality of the Metro Group subsidiary's sites, calling a third of them "quite frankly rubbish". This is obviously a man who calls a spade a spade.
July 1, 2000


Lebensmittel Zeitung with its online sisters (photo: LZ)
More knowledge, right decisions: Lebensmittel Zeitung with its online sisters
Welcome to German Retail Blog, the English online platform of Lebensmittel Zeitung, Germany's leading retail & fmcg trade publication. German Retail Blog provides an English newsletter service for those who would not normally read Lebensmittel Zeitung for language reasons. This is a reaction to increasing demands for at least some of our B2B newspaper content to be made available to a larger international readership. As the title "German Retail Blog" implies, the posts essentially comment on the fascinating world of German retailing. However, the strong internationalisation of German retailers and the importance of the local market for global fmcg manufacturers inevitably oblige us to look beyond national borders.