This anniversary edition of PETS International is highlighting one of the first supermarkets for pets in Europe.
From idea to successful, innovative concept
The idea for a pet supermarket was one brought home by Torsten Toeller from a business trip to the US at the end of the eighties. On a scouting trip for his employer at that time, he was looking for new business ideas. While in the US, he was particularly impressed by the supermarkets for pet food and accessories, such as Pet Smart. Toeller was convinced he had found the perfect concept for the German market: closing the gap between the classic small pet shops and supermarkets.
His boss rejected the idea as economically unsustainable and utter nonsense.
But Toeller firmly believed in his ideas and drew up a strategic plan for what he called his ‘Fressnapf Vision’. He quit his job and opened his first Fressnapf store in Erkelen in January 1990. This was the start of a fast-paced, be it slightly off-beat, success story. Only a few months after opening shop, Toeller was almost forced to file for bankruptcy. Not being one to quit easily, he sold his car, doubled Fressnapf’s product range and slashed consumer prices.
It saved his skin and since, the Fressnapf Group has enjoyed steady growth. This was achieved through franchise stores and through international expansion across Europe.
Continued growth and expansion
In 2017, a total gross turnover of €1.98 billion ($2.34 billion) in eleven countries set a new record in the company´s history – an increase of 6.5% compared to 2016. In 2018, the Fressnapf Group plans to realise a total gross turnover of more than €2 billion ($2.36 billion), which would set a new milestone.
Furthermore, the Fressnapf Group plans to open its 1,500th store in late summer in Paris, France. This will be one of approximately 150 new stores planned to be opened in 2018.
In addition to the brick-and-mortar expansion, the international roll-out of the online shop will strengthen the company’s cross-channel strategy. As a first step, the Austrian online shop will go live summer of this year.
“Fressnapf aims to be a customer-oriented company and systematically gears its actions to the needs of its customers. We want to give them a great experience across all channels. The ability to do so is based on intelligent customer management. This not only allows Fressnapf to identify customer wishes, but also to fulfil them,” Torsten Toeller explains the company’s strategy.
Customer focus is also what drives Fressnapf Group’s future strategy update: CHALLENGE 2025. The new strategy follows on from the current strategy: CHALLENGE 2020. “The fundamental basis for our strategy is a strong corporate and management culture, which is a value driver for the future, particularly in a family owned company like ours,” says Torsten Toeller.
Managing Director Folkert Schultz adds, “CHALLENGE 2025 has a great foundation in the existing strategy. Managing Director Hans-Jörg Gidlewitz, owner Torsten Toeller and I will build on that by continuously investing in customer acquisition and retention programmes. We will also be implementing further digitalisation throughout the company. In addition, by focusing on agility, flat hierarchies and quick decision-making structures, we will be fostering entrepreneurial thinking and enable employees to tap into their full potential.”
Private label and brands
Thanks to the steady development of exclusive Fressnapf | Maxi Zoo brands, the company’s product range has also increased since its inception 28 years ago. The new non-food brands Dogs Creek and TAKE CARE were successfully launched in 2017 and helped to grow the share of Fressnapf | Maxi Zoo brands in the group’s product mix to just over 50%. This year, the company also celebrates MultiFit’s 20th anniversary. MultiFit was the first Fressnapf | Maxi Zoo private label and is now a high-profit, diverse brand. Currently, the Fressnapf range contains over 500 food and non-food MultiFit products.
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