Schlecker goes on offense with plans for new shops

AFP , FRANKFURT

Mon, Aug 23, 2004 - Page 12

Despite low consumer demand, the king of German drug stores, Schlecker, plans to open 500 new shops this year and strike fear into the heart of competitors, not to mention unions.

"Five hundred new stores are going to rise from the ground in the third and fourth quarters," most of them in Germany, a senior representative told this week's Focus Money magazine.

It will take the number of shops to around 11,600 here and more than 14,000 in all of Europe.

In Germany, Schlecker maintains, it is impossible to drive 3km without seeing a building sporting its familiar blue and white banner lit by neon lights.

Inside are goods ranging from detergent to dog food to face cream and on through to photo development services; more than 4,000 product lines in all.

Last year, the group's revenue climbed from 285 million euros.