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Fressnapf Group announced 2013 results and future plans

February 10, 2014

Source: Fressnapf

For yet another year, the Fressnapf Group was able to close out 2013 with a strong increase in turnover totalling 6.7%. The market leader in pet supplies achieved a gross turnover of €1.6 billion ($2.2 billion). The Fressnapf group cracked the €1 billion mark in Germany for the first time (€1.012 billion – $1.4 billion / +4.4%). Stores in eleven other countries in the European Union generated €550 million ($747 million / +13.1%). Particularly impressive is the increase in turnover via the online channel. This past year €47.8 million ($64.9 million) in gross turnover was generated (+76% compared to 2012).

"These numbers make us very proud. The credit belongs to the more than 10,000 employees in all Fressnapf Group stores, headquarters and logistics plus the dedicated commitment of our franchise partners. Of course, special thanks are due to our customers, who trust us more and more", says Torsten Töller, founder and proprietor of Fressnapf | Maxi Zoo.

The Fressnapf Group increased by a healthy 3.4% in existing stores compared with last year. International stores in particular saw positive growth. "We are pleased that our stores in Denmark, France and Italy showed particularly outstanding growth in 2013. Poland is another success story. We opened in Poland a little over a year ago, and since then the three Maxi Zoo branches have done so well, that we plan a total of six new stores for 2014", reports Torsten Töller. "We endeavour to achieve profitable growth in all Fressnapf Group countries and to establish and/or expand our market leadership."

All told, by the end of the year the Fressnapf Group, which operates in the European Union under the international name Maxi Zoo, counted 1,290 specialty stores – up 49 stores in comparison with last year. Of those stores, approximately two thirds have already converted to the current Future Store concept. Future Stores greet customers with a new, lighter colour scheme, wider aisles and an improved overview regarding individual species and their needs. New stores will automatically open as a Future Store. The Fressnapf Group plans for a total of about sixty new stores for 2014, approximately twenty of these will open in Germany.

Challenge 2020 as the road map for international growth
2013 was the kick-off for Challenge 2020 throughout the company. Torsten Töller views Challenge 2020 "as a friendly, approachable partner to inspire people and pets with ideas, solve specific problems and fulfil particular wishes. In other words, we want to be the go-to point of contact in all matters relating to animals and animal care. When our pets are happy so are we. Our vision remains: Happier pets, happier people."

The first step is to improve and expand operative excellence in every country, across all channels. The Fressnapf Group intends to do this by focussing clearly on the customer and their needs. Linking all customer-relevant channels in accordance with the cross-channel strategy is particularly important, as is the step-by-step development of customer knowledge (CRM) so that Fressnapf can provide just the right services and solutions.

By the end of Challenge 2020, the Fressnapf Group pictures itself as the 'Best Partner'. The best, most qualified point-of-contact for pets and their owners. "It sounds simple in theory, but in reality it involves a lot of work, new systems, processes, competencies and last but not least, investments. The 'Compass' project, the introduction of the company-wide SAP and an investment volume of over €30 million ($40.7 million), allows us to meet the systematic requirements", explains Torsten Töller. "Customers don't just trust us for no reason. We must navigate uncharted waters across every channel every day to gain that trust. Our mission is clear: We do everything possible to make the relationship between pets and people simpler, better and happier because animals and animal lovers are of utmost importance to us and because we believe in this incredible friendship."

Looking to the future – different, better, successful
Approximately 10,000 employees across Europe make up an especially important pillar of the Fressnapf Group. The Fressnapf Academy now imparts specialist knowledge and expertise in all twelve countries both online and through in-person seminars as part of the steady array of apprenticeship and training opportunities. In 2013, more than 30,000 certifications were awarded from approximately 70 e-learning seminars. The Fressnapf Group is especially pleased that the unique, industry-wide apprenticeship as an "expert advisor dogs/cats" has been TÜV certified. This course of studies educates employees to become qualified professionals. In the future, these employees will be made recognisable to in the stores. The Fressnapf Academy is nominated for the 2014 e-learning award for the best e-learning solution at 'didacta', the largest education fair in the world, at the end of March.

E-commerce plays a major role
"Fressnapf and Maxi Zoo stores are and will remain approachable stores. We will continue to focus on modern and appealing stores", stresses Torsten Töller. Stores in Germany are operated predominantly by franchise partners, while internationally they function as centrally-run branches supervised by foreign subsidiaries, country managers and their teams. In addition, upon considering the customer's and the company's point of view, Fressnapf can no longer ignore e-commerce business.

Their online shop, currently available in Germany, Switzerland and Denmark, has set new records for turnover every year since 2009. These numbers do not come at the expense of the brick-and-mortar stores. "We have managed to combine channels that once ran parallel to each other such that brick-and-mortar and online stores are now linked via our cross-channel strategy. Customers do not think in channels, rather in needs and solutions. What they can't find in a store can be purchased in the online shop as part of our expanded range. Our franchise partners view this as a genuine value-added feature to their expert advice and profit from the turnover", explains Töller. The goal now is to roll out the online shop at an international level. The 'hybris' platform has established the technical infrastructure necessary to fulfil this plan. The online shop is planned to go live on the new platform in the remaining countries in the second half of 2014.

In the current study from the E-Commerce Center in Cologne (ECC), the online shop at www.fressnapf.de was ranked fifth out of the 100 largest German online shops in a nation-wide comparison of the best online shops, up six spots from last year. This yearly study is measured in the hardest and most important of all currencies: customer satisfaction.

Fressnapf Group strengthens positioning as a cross-channel retailer
In the future, the Fressnapf Group will integrate digital know-how across every business division within the scope of its Challenge 2020 business strategy. Approximately three years ago the e-commerce business was established as a separate entity within the company. Its goal – to generate turnover volume quickly. Upon reaching a certain size and significance, this division must be integrated into the whole company.

E-commerce affects practically every division in the company (e.g. marketing, logistics, IT, category management, etc.) To this end, Fressnapf has consolidated the e-commerce and marketing divisions into the new cross-channel marketing division. By taking this step, the entire Fressnapf Group clearly underscores its positioning as a true cross-channel retailer. "We believe that incorporating our digital competencies deeply within the company is a logical step in ensuring our long-term international market leadership", explains Torsten Töller. "The customer is firmly at the core of every business decision. We want to meet their needs as best we can, regardless of when and how they find us – in brick-and-mortar stores, online or via our mobile app, round the clock, 24/7."

Other investments
Additional strategic importance has been placed on the company headquarters in Krefeld (NRW). Here, approximately 1,000 employees work in administration and logistics. The headquarters is a service provider for the franchise partners, the foreign subsidiaries and the store teams for the twelve countries in the Fressnapf Group. Notably, investments in the full-range warehouse are planned for this year at the Krefeld location. A semi-automated small parts warehouse will be developed, which will considerably expand the capacities in Krefeld even more by no later than 2016. Additional storage space has been rented for Fressnapf logistics in Willich as well. All in all, the Fressnapf range currently comprises 12,000 items and is being expanded gradually.

What's more, the plans for a company day care centre for the children of Fressnapf employees are still actively in the works. The hope is to get the go-ahead in the next two years.

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