Rewe boss Souque on the tough competition with Aldi and Lidl

Rewe board member Lionel Souque.

Rewe board member Lionel Souque.

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With the second lockdown, the Germans start hoarding again. Whether toilet paper, pasta or canned food. However, this time there shouldn’t be any empty shelves, said Lionel Souque, CEO of the Rewe Group, to “Manager Magazin”.

The Rewe Group has learned from the first lockdown

“There will be no supply bottlenecks this time. All shelves should be replenished after 24 hours at the latest. We now know which products are in particular demand, such as pasta, canned food or toilet paper. During the first lockdown in March and April, we had enough time to set up new suppliers and transport routes, ”explains Souque.

The Rewe Group took over the small store supplier Lekkerland at the beginning of January. “All of a sudden we are turning over around twelve billion euros more and are now number two in European retail,” says Souque. Lekkerland supplies around 90,000 sales outlets in Europe, such as petrol stations and kiosks. “That strengthens our market position, even if I was actually worried during the first lockdown,” reveals Souque. Because Lekkerland’s largest customers also include restaurant chains such as Subway, Starbucks or Burger King in Spain, which recorded a 90 percent drop in sales in March.

“We can’t just watch Aldi and Lidl continue to expand.”

In Germany Souque fears a “predatory competition”. However, the Rewe Group already has a strategy to keep up with the biggest competitors: “The Rewe Group is currently investing more in its discounter Penny. As Rewe, we cannot just watch our biggest competitors, the Schwarz Group with Lidl and Kaufland or Aldi, continue to expand. We are currently planning a renovation for our discounter Penny with wider aisles and niches, each of which presents a world of goods. […] In December I will propose to the Supervisory Board that the concept be rolled out further. “

Despite the corona crisis, delivery service remains a negative business

Although more people are shopping from home due to the pandemic, the delivery business is currently down. The delivery service from Rewe has so far been in deficit and although there are currently hardly any free dates for a delivery, Souque makes it clear: “We are making significantly more sales, but the bottom line is that the loss is still there. It remains a negative business. ”Because it is very time-consuming for the supermarket to do all the shopping for the customer and then deliver it to their home – and then possibly carry it to the fourth floor without an elevator. Nevertheless, the Rewe Group wants to stick to the concept: “For us it is an investment in the future. We see the delivery business as an additional service and want to prevent Rewe customers who do not always want to or cannot always come to our stores from migrating to other providers. “



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