02.05.2021 : Retail Specialists' Survival

Corona leaves traditional outlets in the cities in big financial problems : it is not only the lock-down but in the year 2020/21 also the competition with online-trade! For Prof.Dr.B.Hallier it is a repetition of the Petrol-Crisis in 1974 when in Germany Autobahnen/Highways were closed on weekends and all industries were looking to reduce staff and to rationalize distribution. - Responsible at the time for Trade Policy of a cigarette producer the challenge was to support ailing small tobacconists as they offered still a broad assortment of about 200 brands versus cigarette vending wholesalers with only 10 columns per vending machine and an expanding sales-sector of supermarkets who sold at their cash-zone a maximum of 30 brands. All three trade channels have been in competition with each other: and at least seven cigarette manufacturers were fighting for their brands to get the biggest share of presentation at the outlets.


"The tobacconists had been under the biggest market pressure" Hallier recalls the situation of 1974. "Actually the best would have been if we could have offered a functional rebate to this channel as they offer a broad assortment being open also for the tests of new brands and they were able to establish by personal physical contacts good customer-relationships: but due to German Cartel Law such a solution was not possible. - So we decided another way of subsidy for those ones who wanted still to invest into their future. We designed a store lay-out which also included brand-advertising: tobacconists got standardized modules (by this way cheaper than individual new store-fitting) and we made advertising-contracts for a couple of years giving them an additional income by this action. It was a win-win for industry and tobacco-specialists.. and also a part of modernization of stores in the city-centers".

25.04.2021 : Group versus Individualism

While in Western societies ethnologically hunters and collectors dominated the development of behaviour - in Asia rice-farming was only possible by groups and balance of interests with neighbours. For 50 years Prof.Dr.Hallier studied first as an exchange-student (staying in families ) and later as an international consultant the sociology of Japanese companies like Morinaga, JTI tobacco or Seibu/AEON. For him Japan's Post War Rise can be only understood by this traditional group-thinking and discipline: a family is not only defined by birth but also by being a member of a company or even by the nation. Leadership in Japan is not based on knowledge like in Marketing or Finance but on the skills to be a group-harmonizer according to Hallier." The ringi-system is integrating young employees as well as senior staff; evenings are used for inter-department- or inter-company dialogues".


"The Olympics 1964 was the initial to turn Tokyo towards a modern shopping benchmark with the department-stores at Ginza and Shibuya as show-cases of the Asian potential. Retail in Japan since then became one of its most important drivers of innovation! " Hallier states."The Seibu Future Store and automated offloading of trucks by robots had been highlights of our EHI-Japan visit in 1986; convenience-stores with on-demand-delivery followed; AEON became the greatest Asian retailer with a broad portfolio of different store-types and took over also responsibilities for the development of other countries via the Asian Pacific Retailers Association "( at the photo AEON's Honorary Chairman Takuya Okada together with Prof.Hallier).

15.04.2021 : Self-CheckOut 1965/2021

One of the top-sessions of the EHI Innovation Days 2021 was dealing with innovation of SCO. According to Prof.Dr.Hallier there is a tremendous development in the last decade - and even in the last six months due to Corona as an additional impact for retail innovations. The scope starts with self-scanning at the cash-zone or by hand-scanners fixed at the trolleys up to solutions of scanning by mobiles. EHI is hosting (see) as a platform to monitor and to discuss the latest state of art.


Worth mentioning according to Hallier is that the first unmanned-store in the World started to be tested for one year already in April 1965 in Wiesbaden/Germany by the local food chain Latscha and its technical supplier Acker/Storematics. About 650 articles had been offered; the annual turnover was 600.000 DM; about 55 percent of the turnover was covered on Saturday/Sundays (which had been the times of store-closure in Germany). The entrance ticket for the store enabled the consumer to collect up to 30 items which were each registered at the picking point by the punch-card: which finally at the exit was used like a loyalty card but payment was in a coin-vending machine. Tempi mutandi!

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.

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