These 13 Real stores are now being converted into Kaufland branches
“We’re leaving, Kaufland is coming.” What can be read at the entrances of some Real branches since December last year is now to be put into practice in the new year: Kaufland will convert at least 13 Real branches from the beginning of February, and as to reopen their own supermarkets, as the food newspaper reports. Kaufland is allowed to take over 92 Real stores in total.
Since last week there has been a sale of the old Real products in order to keep the branches empty by the end of the month. The Real owners SPC hired the specialists from Gordon Brothers for this.
The branches in Detmold, Bochum-Wattenscheid, Edingen-Neckarhausen, Oldenburg 1, Kulmbach, Ettlingen, Germersheim, Moers 1, Paderborn, Heinsberg, Aachen, Neuss 2 and Hamm-Heessen are taken over. In addition to the branches already announced by Kaufland, only Oldenburg was added and is likely to replace the Kaufland branch in Hildesheim.
After the markets have been sold out, they will be refurbished and partially rebuilt, according to the “Lebensmittelzeitung” newspaper, and then they will be filled with the Kaufland product range. From the outside, only the logo is adapted.
Since the operation of the branches should not pause for longer than two days, no major modifications are possible. Further changes should therefore take place in the following weeks, while operations have already resumed.
Cartel Office allows Kaufland and Globus to take over Real
The Federal Cartel Office approves the takeover of up to 92 Real locations by Kaufland under certain conditions. The Cartel Office also allows the medium-sized wholesale retailer Globus to buy up to 24 Real stores from real estate investor SCP. The competition authorities announced this on Tuesday morning.
Kaufland originally applied to take over 101 locations. Since the Cartel Office had concerns about competition law, Kaufland waived the planned acquisition of the nine Real locations in Bedburg, Heidenau, Hemer, Heidenheim, Brandenburg, Neubrandenburg, Horb, Dülmen and Falkensee “by way of a commitment”.
“Otherwise the alternatives and competition would have been too severely impaired in the regional markets affected,” says the President of the Federal Cartel Office, Andreas Mundt.
“This is a good and important decision for the employees, customers and markets. We offer Real employees new professional prospects and look forward to continuing to successfully operate the markets with them, ”says Ralf Imhof, CEO of Kaufland Germany. In the coming months, Kaufland will integrate the Real stores and maintain them as regional local suppliers for customers.
According to the Cartel Office, the takeover of Real locations by Globus is unproblematic from a consumer perspective in all affected regions. According to Mundt, the negotiations and the conditions of the competition watchdogs will significantly strengthen German medium-sized businesses in the food retail sector.
In addition to Kaufland and Globus, Edeka has also registered an interest in acquiring up to 72 Real locations with the Federal Cartel Office. The proceedings are still ongoing. As the Cartel Office also announced, Edeka and SCP had already submitted initial offers for commitments in mid-December, so that the deadline for a decision has been extended again to February 22, 2021.
Globus registers the takeover of 24 Real locations with the cartel office
Globus has now achieved a breakthrough in the negotiations with real estate investor SCP about the sale of the remaining Real branches after the end of the grocer: The hypermarket chain from Saarland has notified the Federal Cartel Office to take over up to 24 Real branches. This emerges from the current list of ongoing merger control proceedings by the competition guardians.
The Cartel Office had previously expressed concerns about the deals with the industry giants Edeka and Kaufland, as medium-sized competitors such as Globus should be given more consideration in the sales talks.
Globus had already expressed interest in some Real locations in June. As the “Lebensmittelzeitung” reports, the wholesaler from Saarland calculates that fewer than the 24 desired stores could be approved.
Cartel Office postpones decision on Real takeover by Edeka
The Federal Cartel Office has postponed the decision to take over the Real locations by the Edeka Group until next year. This emerges from a list of ongoing main investigations that the Federal Cartel Office published on Friday. Edeka had announced the purchase of 72 stores from the investor SCP. The deadline for the examination has been extended to January 21, 2021. Originally, the competition authorities wanted to make a decision before Christmas. Most recently, the cartel office had already postponed the decision deadline for taking over 101 Real branches by one month due to concerns about competition law. As reported, the auditors fear a shift in the competitive conditions in the sales and procurement market.
Markenverband calls for the purchase of the Real branches by Edeka and Kaufland to be prohibited
The German Brand Association calls for the purchase of Real branches to be banned from Edeka and Kaufland. That reports the “Wirtschaftswoche”. “We see a considerable impairment of competition and the final emergence of a narrow oligopoly in the food trade”, says the managing director of law and politics of the association, Andreas Gayk, of “Wirtschaftswoche”. Any strengthening of the market power of one of the four leading food retailers through an acquisition would mean a “considerable impairment of the demand competition”. The four leading food retailers, the Edeka Group (Edeka, Netto), the Schwarz Group (Kaufland, Lidl), the Rewe Group (Rewe, Penny) and the Aldi Group already combine around 70 percent market shares.
“More market power is almost impossible,” said Gayk of “Wirtschaftswoche”. The cartel office has also already expressed competition concerns, as NewsABC.net previously reported. The competition watchdogs are currently in negotiations with Kaufland and Edeka for concessions from buyers in order to remove possible reservations. As the “Wirtschaftswoche” reports on, the brand association sees no chance of eliminating the concerns about negotiations.
The association includes more than 380 brand providers, who, through the takeover by the market leaders, rattle in a “continuous increase in pressure on the brand manufacturers who have less and less to counter this”.
Renewed deadline: Cartel Office has concerns about the takeover by Kaufland
The Federal Cartel Office has concerns about the registered acquisition of 101 Real locations by Kaufland. This was announced by the competition authorities in a press release on Monday when the preliminary assessment was sent to the companies involved. The Cartel Office sees various competition problems, especially on the procurement side in relation to suppliers and other competitors in the food retail sector.
According to the current state of affairs, the takeover at nine locations is problematic: The Cartel Office sees a “significant impediment to effective competition in nine regional sales markets through the acquisition of the Real locations there by the Schwarz Group.” This was confirmed by an SCP spokeswoman for the “Lebensmittelzeitung” (LZ) “. At SCP they are “optimistic that we can come up with a good overall solution and that the process can be completed as planned by the end of the year”.
The institution also expressed concerns because the participation of medium-sized competitors like Globus “is of particular importance […] in the sale of the Real locations. “
In order to dispel the concerns, the real seller, the investor group SCP, and Kaufland have now submitted proposals for various commitments to the Federal Cartel Office. The competition watchdogs and the companies involved are now negotiating, which is why the deadline for the decision has been extended to December 30th.
Originally, the negotiation period was set until the end of October. It has already been postponed twice due to the concerns.
Kaufland and the Cartel Office agree to extend the deadline
Kaufland wants to take over 101 of the 279 Real stores for sale and recently pushed for the branches to be integrated quickly. According to the management’s plan, 20 stores should already be operating under the Kaufland brand by October. The retail giant wanted to take away the lucrative Christmas business. Kaufland has already regularly achieved record sales in the past few months.
Nothing comes of that for now: Actually, the deadline for the cartel decision expired last week, Kaufland and the authorities agreed some time ago on an extension of the deadline to November 9th, according to the “Lebensmittelzeitung” newspaper, which is probably also wasted. The Cartel Office will probably need until November 30th for a decision. The Cartel Office did not give the exact reason for the delay.
12th of October
Code name Goethe: Globus hires first employees for Real takeover
A few weeks ago the Saarland Globus Group already expressed interest in taking over 16 Real stores. Globus has now set up a project team called “Goethe” for the takeover and has already hired its first employees, reports the “Lebensmittelzeitung”. In an interview there, the spokesman for the management of Globus hypermarkets, Jochen Baab, stated that “all organizational prerequisites” for integrating the Real stores have been created.
So far, Globus has made a takeover offer for 16 markets with the Russian investor group SCP and intends to move to around 70 branches in Germany in the coming years. However, the deal is not yet dry, so far there is only one offer from Globus, and the Cartel Office would also have to approve a takeover beforehand.
The EU Commission makes it official: Kaufland is allowed to take over real.de
The Schwarz Group (Lidl, Kaufland) can significantly expand its presence in online retail. The retail giant received the green light from the EU Commission on Thursday to take over the online marketplace real.de. The EU Commission announced that there are no competition concerns.
“As a further sales channel, the online marketplace will ideally complement our stationary business”, emphasized the Schwarz Group’s digital director, Rolf Schumann. The discount specialist, which operates more than 12,000 branches worldwide with its Lidl and Kaufland divisions and has a turnover of more than 100 billion euros, has so far been rather cautious in e-commerce. Online food retailing experienced a boom during the Corona crisis. The new acquisition can now help to close this gap. The online platform is to be continued under the name Kaufland. However, the renaming should not take place until next year.
Kaufland is not only interested in Real’s online marketplace, but has also registered with the Federal Cartel Office that it is interested in buying up to 101 branches.
Coca-Cola, Nestlé & Co. veto the takeover of branches by Edeka and Rewe
Will the takeover of the Real branches by Edeka, Rewe and Kaufland be about to close? The brand association – whose members include prominent food manufacturers such as Coca-Cola, Nestlé and Dr. Oetker are – according to the “Lebensmittelzeitung”, calls on the cartel office in a letter of complaint to stop the sale. The takeover would finally create a dominant oligopoly. “There is no other option than to prohibit these takeovers due to a significant impairment of competition in the procurement markets,” said association head Christian Köhler.
Most recently there was a dispute between Kaufland and its suppliers over high demands on terms and conditions. The manufacturers are supposed to deduct 0.02 percent of the respective gross sales from each Real branch taken over to Kaufland – an unacceptable demand for the association and proof of the “competitive superiority of the retail trade”.
After the Plus takeover in 2009, it became clear that the Markenverband can definitely make a difference. After the purchase, Edeka had implemented better purchasing conditions with the dealers. After a complaint from the trademark association to the Cartel Office, the Federal Court of Justice ruled that the conditions were illegal.
17th of September
Globus gets involved in the branch poker
After the supermarket chains Edeka and Kaufland have already expressed their interest in the Real stores to be sold, the Saarland retail company Globus has now also spoken out. As the “Wirtschaftswoche” reports, the chain wants to take over up to 16 stores.
Globus hopes that the project will be supported by the Federal Cartel Office, which is currently examining Edeka and Kaufland’s purchase intentions. A Globus spokeswoman: “The Federal Cartel Office has been following developments in the food retail sector for many years with great attention and a high level of expertise,” she said. “We have great confidence in the work of the Federal Cartel Office that in this case too it will make a decision that will strengthen competition.”
Edeka registers 72 Real branches for takeover
As the “Lebensmittelzeitung” reports, Edeka has now officially registered with the Federal Cartel Office to take over 72 Real branches. A spokesman for the competition authorities confirmed this to the industry medium. The application was submitted on Friday.
Previously, the application had been delayed again and again, actually Edeka wanted to have announced the takeover at the beginning of July. Originally, the market leader had agreed with the new Real owner SCP in the spring to take over 53 stores. But then it became known that further locations were being negotiated, which is why the official registration had been postponed.
Kaufland, the biggest competitor in poker for the Real locations, had already announced the takeover of up to 101 houses at the beginning of June.
Real wants to save costs in terms of personnel and product range
Before the still existing Real stores are finally transferred from the new owner, the Russian investor group SCP, to the new buyers Kaufland and Edeka, significant savings are to be made. SCP wants to pursue a tough austerity course in all business areas, costs should fall by up to 350 million euros within two years, reports the “Lebensmittelzeitung”. The savings program should start in the transition period before the sale of presumably 119 of the total of 279 Real stores.
Although Real recorded like-for-like growth of 3.9 percent in the first half of the year due to the corona pandemic, the full-range market has been economically poor for years. “Real has been posting losses in the three-digit million range for several years. The temporarily higher sales from the Corona period will not change this fact in the 2019/20 financial year, ”the company confirms to the“ Lebensmittelzeitung ”. Real must now try to keep the liquid funds and reduce the losses in the operational business.
The greatest savings can be made in the cash register and in the case of temporary employees. There is potential for savings of 200 million euros here, reports the “Lebensmittelzeitung” newspaper. This means that many employees with fixed-term contracts will probably not be renewed after their employment relationship has expired, and the hiring freeze has been extended. In addition, it is currently being examined whether further personnel and costs can be saved by closing the cheese and meat counters.
And the variety of products could also hit: ten percent of the entire range, which includes between 40,000 and 80,000 items depending on the size of the market, is to be shortened, according to the media report. In addition, less money should be spent on outdoor advertising.
Update August 7th
Which markets will probably go to Kaufland and Edeka
In an unofficial list, the names of successors for 119 Real stores should already be read, as reported by the “Lebensmittelzeitung”.
However, all sides are currently covered, because a decision by the Federal Cartel Office is still being awaited. Which markets are going to Kaufland and which are going to Edeka is said to have leaked to some Edeka merchants. They take this as an opportunity to look for locations behind the scenes, so the “LZ” continues.
Kaufland would receive 79 branches according to the lists, but had previously signaled interest in 88. According to the list, the distribution of the markets looks like this:
- Bavaria: 6 branches go to Edeka, 11 shops go to Kaufland. 3 locations will be closed, what will happen to the remaining 14 branches is unclear.
- Baden-Wuerttemberg: 8 branches go to Edeka, 10 branches to Kaufland. What will happen to the remaining 18 branches is still unclear.
- Berlin: 2 branches go to Kaufland, one will probably be closed. There are currently no takeover candidates for the remaining 2 Real stores.
- Brandenburg: 3 branches go to Edeka, 2 branches to Kaufland. One branch will be closed; there are no takeover candidates for the remaining 6.
- Bremen: Edeka will probably get 2 branches, Kaufland one. Another Real branch has no buyer yet.
- Hamburg: 2 branches go to Kaufland, 2 more are still looking for a buyer.
- Hesse: 2 branches should go to Edeka, three to Kaufland. The future is still uncertain for the remaining 6 branches.
- Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: Kaufland probably wants to take over 5 Real stores, the future is open to 3 more.
- Lower Saxony: 2 branches could go to Edeka, 13 to Kaufland. 15 other branches apparently have no buyer yet.
- Rhineland-Palatinate: 3 locations go to Edeka, one to Kaufland. 2 branches are apparently about to be closed, and a buyer is being sought for 7 more.
- Saarland: One branch goes to Edeka, what happens to the other 4 locations is still unclear.
- Saxony: 2 branches are to go to Edeka, another is probably about to be closed.
- Saxony-Anhalt: 2 branches go to Edeka, 2 more will probably be closed. Unclear what will happen to the remaining 7 locations.
- Schleswig-Holstein: 2 Real stores become Edeka, 4 more are still without buyers.
- Thuringia: What will happen to the branches in Thuringia is still unclear.
According to the “Lebensmittelzeitung” newspaper, the lists are said to have been distributed to works councils by the new Real owner SCP. However, SCP does not want to comment on the whole thing.
Update July 3rd
Edeka wants to take over 18 more Real houses
Similar to Kaufland, Edeka will now also take over other Real locations. As the “Lebensmittelzeitung” reports, Edeka will now even register with the Cartel Office to take over around 70 Real locations. In the spring, the buyer of Real, the Russian investor group SCP, had reached an agreement with Edeka in which 52 locations were mentioned. Now the individual Edeka regional companies are apparently also interested in other Real branches.
As the “Lebensmittelzeitung” (LZ) also reports, SCP is planning to hand over the Real locations to the new operators in the fourth quarter of this year. In addition to Kaufland and Edeka, Rewe and Globus are also in talks with SCP to take over additional locations. According to the “LZ” information, however, the negotiations are not yet further advanced.
Update June 29th
Eight Real branches will be closed
The hypermarket chain Real announced the closure of eight of the currently 276 branches just a few days after the change of ownership. The markets in Berlin-Spandau, Duisburg-Süd, Herten-Westerholt, Leißling-Weißenfels, Mönchengladbach-Rheydt, Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Frankenthal and Goslar will cease operations in the coming year, as Real announced on Monday. Almost 700 employees are affected. The “Lebensmittel Zeitung” had previously reported on it.
The Russian financial investor SCP had only taken control of Real from Metro last Thursday. SCP wants to break up the group and has already agreed to sell a total of 141 Real branches to Kaufland and Edeka.
Continuing to operate the eight selected locations is no longer economical, Real said. “The background for this decision was the difficult economic situation in all cases due to the very high losses in recent years,” emphasized a Real spokesman. From the beginning, however, SCP had also made it clear that a total of around 30 Real branches would probably have to be closed due to a lack of prospects. Despite intensive efforts, no interested party could be found for the eight locations that have now been announced, the retail chain reported to the German press agency.
Update June 25th
Final sale of Real
The sale of the Real supermarket chain to the investor group SCP is now sealed. The prehistory had dragged on for over two years. According to its own information, Metro AG will receive a net cash inflow of 0.3 billion euros for the deal. “The sale also completes Metro’s portfolio transformation on the way to becoming a fully focused wholesale company,” announced the retail group. Metro boss Olaf Koch also thanked the Real employees, “especially for the outstanding commitment in the past weeks of the Corona crisis”.
The SCP Group is now the sole owner of the stationary Real retail trade, the digital business including the online marketplace real.de (which has already been taken over by Kaufland) and all other Real companies. According to the announcement, all around 34,000 Real employees would be taken on with their current contracts at existing conditions. However, the Verdi union had recently warned of wage dumping and mass layoffs caused by the deal.
Bojan Luncer, previously a board member at Lidl, will become Real’s new managing director. The SCP group also commented on the takeover in a letter, according to “Lebensmittelzeitung”. Dozens of branches are at risk: “Site closings and layoffs will always be the last option if neither continued operation nor continuation by a retail company open up economic prospects. Based on the assessment by SCP Retail Investments, around 30 stores currently have no sustainable future. ”However, space could also be reduced in order to become attractive for competitors. Some of the branches are also to be resold to Edeka and Kaufland.
Update June 22nd
Kaufland takes over real.de
The final sale of the food company Real to the investor group SCP is due on Thursday. SCP then wants to resell a large part of the 279 Real branches and the online shop. It has now been announced that Kaufland, which, like Lidl, belongs to the Schwarz Group, is taking over the real.de online marketplace. That reports the “Lebensmittelzeitung”.
Kaufland had previously also expressed interest in up to 101 locations of Real branches. According to the report, Kaufland plans to continue operating the online marketplace under its own name. For the customers of real.de and the dealers nothing should change initially.
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Economic drama about Real: Russian investor takes over branches, closings and layoffs threaten
The economic drama surrounding the takeover of the ailing supermarket chain Real was like a pre-evening soap: a constant back and forth and always new, sudden turning points in the negotiations. Now the deal is sealed: The investor consortium SCP and X-Bricks and the parent company Metro have agreed on a 100 percent takeover, as both announced a few weeks ago. The supermarket chain threatens to be broken up.
As reported by the German press agency, the agreement provides for the sale of Real as a whole for an enterprise value of around one billion euros, as stated in a statement. Metro speaks of a net inflow of around EUR 300 million – and thus around EUR 200 million less than originally hoped – and more than EUR 1.5 billion in net inflows after all transaction costs from the sale of Real and the sale of a majority stake in the Chinese business. In the meantime, the European Commission has approved the deal as expected, there are no competition concerns, as it is said from Brussels.
According to the German press agency, the Russian financial investor wants to replace the leadership of the supermarket chain immediately after the takeover has been completed. After the completion of the purchase process, which is expected in May or June, a new management will take over the management under the former Lidl manager Bojan Luncer, SCP announced on Monday. In addition to Luncer, the new management trio will include the transformation expert Michael Dorn and the former Rewe manager Oliver Mans.
What happens now?
What exactly will happen to the other branches and whether the other Real employees will be allowed to keep their jobs will probably remain unclear for some time. “The new operators are obliged to take over the Real employees in the respective area,” promised Koch in his letter. However, the Real works council is concerned that many jobs will be cut. The general works council chairman Werner Klockhaus told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” recently that he was expecting a loss of 10,000 jobs. Metro boss Olaf Koch had so far rejected this figure. Where there will be redundancies for operational reasons, according to Koch, an already concluded company agreement should alleviate cases of social hardship. It provides for severance payments of 12 to 14 monthly salaries.
Real has been burdening Metro for a long time
Things haven’t been going well in real life for a long time. The parent company Metro has been looking for a buyer for the Düsseldorf supermarket chain since September 2018.
Because the large-scale grocery trade is becoming obsolete. The downward trend is underpinned by bad figures: At the end of 2019, Real’s sales fell again – by 1.6 percent to 6.9 billion euros. Ten years ago, Real had just under 8.8 billion euros in sales in Germany. The business hardly pays off for Metro: Real is burdening the group with an operating loss (Ebitda) of 154 million euros.
Grocery retailing on a large area is hardly worthwhile
Real’s development is exemplary for all wholesalers in Germany. Experts from the management consultancy Oliver Wyman analyzed the market for the “Handelsblatt”. The bottom line is sobering: branch closings, lost sales, restructuring. Large-scale food retailers like Real will have a particularly difficult time. The consultants predict that the number of hypermarkets will decrease by fifteen percent from currently 1,300 to 1,100 by 2025.
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The industry seems to have closed its eyes to this development for a long time. Rainer Münch, retail expert at Oliver Wyman, told the “Handelsblatt”: “What used to be the success of the large area is now also offered by the supermarkets: a wide range with a wide range of fresh goods and exciting price promotions.” Therefore, the large area operators lose in For years, food retailing has been gaining market shares from supermarket operators such as Rewe and Edeka, but also from discounters such as Aldi and Lidl.
Kaufland is also having a hard time
The extent to which the hypermarket business model is under pressure also shows that even the market leaders are not doing well. Kaufland only grew by around 1.2 percent this year. The “Handelsblatt” writes that it is an open secret that the company made a loss in 2019. For comparison: Rewe’s sales rose by nine percent in the same period.
The business model of the large-scale operators cannot be saved by reducing the location alone, said the consultant Münch to the “Handelsblatt”. Because closing a branch is often more expensive than continuing it for years. Instead, the staging of the area and the offer is more important. The Oliver Wyman study recommends, among other things, using modern data analysis to control the markets more efficiently and thereby adapt the markets to local demand.
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sgo / cm / ph / dpa