01.04.2021 : Innovator Eklöh

Innovation is mostly driven by the entrepreneurial spirit of personalities. In Germany such a person was Herbert Eklöh (1905 - 1978), learning chemist firstly he opened in a second phase his first food-shop in 1928, building the first European Self-Service store in 1938 in the city of Osnabrück, starting to become a medium-size chain-store operation just after World War II. In 1956 his 58 outlets had a turnover of 60 million DM (Deutsche Mark) - in 1957 he opened in Cologne the first big-sized supermarket/hypermarket with 2.000 square meters which had already in its first year in operation a turnover of 9,2 million DM. In the same year Herbert Eklöh became co-founder of the Cologne-based ISB Institute for Self-Service : a joint merchant-owned institute for research and knowledge transfer.

Already in 1935 Eklöh had offered consulting services for the Department-Store Chain Kaufhof - acting for some time there beside his other activities as a director for food; now in the grey-dawn of self-service he sold the main shares of his chain in 1958 to the four big Department Store Chains Hertie, Horten, Karstadt and Kaufhof as a joint holding for learning more about this growing sector in food business.


But Eklöh became also a driver of diversification. In 1962 he took-over the majority of the sweets-chain Hussel/Hagen with 160 outlets in top-shopping areas of cities in Western Germany; in the end of the 60ies he invested in parfume-stores among which have been the traditional brand Douglas. His son Dr.Jörn Kreke later reached its first benchmark of 200 outlets in 1986. In 1989 "Douglas" became the name of the Holding for all diversifications: mainly Hussel sweets, Douglas perfume stores, Christ jewelleries, Montanus/Thalia book-stores, Appelrath-Cüpper/Werdin fashion outlets. Due also to international expansion according to Prof.Dr.B.Hallier since about the year 2000 Douglas could be called "An European Life-Style Group" having at that time a total of about 2000 outlets with 18.000 employees acting in 10 countries with an annual turnover of 5 billion DM.

25.03.2021 : Consumption 2050

"Taken Global Marketing it is not only important to look at the figures of total population per area as a market - but to analyze where is the greatest potential of growing income as a target-group" Prof.Dr.Hallier described strategies for 2050. "The development of middle-classes internationally for example is biggest in India followed by China and other Asian countries - topping the old and affluent societies of the EU and the USA" Hallier added.


"We should take now the Corona Lock-downs as time for reflections about future markets - and check potentials for the restart of activities in new markets: compensating old fields of business" Hallier explained his strategic orientation."We should also in this case apply Knowledge Competence Sharing : not doing all processes by own staff but to cooperate and to concentrate on own competences like in the Ricardo theory" referring also to last month's Indian Business Focus.

15.03.2021 : RGH + ISB

"Most probably it was also part of the destruction of Germany in World War II as well as the post-war spirit of the survivors that created a climate of cooperation beyond all different sectors in retail and wholesale in the newly founded Federal Republic of Western Germany which in 1951 led in the city of Cologne to a privately owned research institute RGH (Rationalization Institute) with trade companies and trade associations as share-holders" Prof.Dr.Hallier remembers the past."It was the idea to gain knowledge together as entrepreneurs about modern/efficient retailing and to share experiences : it was the start of Applied Sciences in Germany. The first five topics on the agenda had been liquidity, accounting, transportation, assortment and self-service." Deriving from the work-shop "self-service" of the RGH a special interest group founded in 1957 its own ISB Institute for Self-Service with the focus of shopfitting, articles with potential for self-service, packaging and training of staff for this new sector. Already in the first quarter of 1957 the ISB could evaluate questionnaires from about 650 self-service outlets about business-administration data to compare the efficiency of store-operations.


Becoming CEO of ISB in 1985 Prof.B.Hallier prepared the stage for merging ISB and RGH again in 1988: "While segmentation was the right strategy in the 60ies to concentrate on innovation by self-service : in the 80ies we needed a joint Platform for the whole of different trade channels in Germany: the DHI (German Trade Institute) became the scientific institute for all German retailers/wholesalers. We did not want to spoil resources! With the ISB/RGH researchers we offered data free of charge for public purposes but could also act as consultants for individual clients if demanded; with 50 percent of the barcoding CCG/today GS 1 Germany we had a joint venture with the Branded Goods Industry and with our joint activities of EuroShop we had an excellent platform for all technical suppliers along the Total Supply Chain" Hallier explained his strategies of the 80ies for Germany.

03.03.2021 : Multiplier

The West-German "Economic Wunder" of the 70ies was according to Prof.Dr.B.Hallier a combination of three factors: firstly Creative Heads open after World War II for new ideas - and second "Multipliers of Thought" as could be seen at the example of tobacco-wholesalers (see last ERA-news) or the retail-sector in general being confronted at that time with the innovative challenge of self-service/American Life-Style. Taken the year 1965 for example: the number of self-service stores increased by 18 percent to 62.714 units; 94 percent of those stores being upgraded to modern formats had been belonged to private retail entrepreneurs. On average the sales-area per store increased from 76 to 100 square meters.


"It shows that the overwhelming majority of entrepreneurs had been small retailers who step by step changed their store format and POS-approach" Prof.Dr.Hallier stated reviewing the time even from own memories. "A third factor was that such a big number of decision-makers very often look for different solutions for problems due to their individuality (otherwise they would not have been entrepreneurs) and due to profiling in Competition: that is the driver of speed for innovations. It was the luck of the moment to recognize that such a big number of innovative forces needed an international sector-platform for communication: launching the EuroShop exhibition in 1966 in the city of Duesseldorf (See also)" Hallier concluded. Today it is worldwide the Number One Exhibition in this field with 120.000 square meters net exhibition area in 2020 - being run triannually with two EuroCIS technology fairs in between the main EuroShop-events. (See more about the tactical tools at the link YouTube Innovation Drivers).

25.02.2021 : Innovation Catalyst

1974 the world was in the Petrol Crisis ! Everybody in business was in search for potential rationalizations in processes and organizations. Computers for the first time became an important part of new business-models. Bernd Hallier of Brinkmann Cigarettes started a dialogue with leading tobacco wholesalers in Germany: together with Willi Weber he created a new filling system of cigarette vending machines as vending at that time covered about 50 percent of all sales (see News of 07.02.2021). He permanently was on tour in the field in search for automation/innovation and by this became an innovation-catalyst in the tobacco sector.


"We had defined a Trade Policy with the strategy not to endanger by any actions the permanent free access for our labels to all distribution channels : an innovation jump for vending-wholesalers needed immediately some action to be followed for wholesalers serving the kiosk-businesses or the tobacconist-retailers who had been due to their broad assortment (200 brands) important for Brand Innovations while vending machines in 1975 had only 10 columns on average" Hallier remembers. "The tactics also demanded a balance between the wholesalers within each region to have a mix which should not challenge the manufacturers dominance. - Therefore the engagement for alternatives was to pave the way externally as well as internally. The Learning was that innovation has more enemies than friends" Hallier summarizes "Innovation is a challenge to change : it is always AGAINST traditional behaviour and against the MAYORITY: because ex definition otherwise it would not be innovative"! On the operative level Hallier used the power of letters of his customers to the DTZ Weekly to support his ideas for market restructures.

< Previous          Next >

© 2004-2019 European Retail Academy, Roesrath, Germany
[legal notice] [protection of data privacy]

Page generated in 0.0961 seconds.