The Founder of the German Retail Colossus Metro Dies, Age 89
Friday, 15th March, 2013
It is said that England was a nation of shop keepers but really this simple thought applies to all countries at some stage. Success in business comes from many directions but a particularly fruitful area has been to revolutionise how the simple, daily needs of the population are bought and sold. With some exceptions all of the success stories in basic retailing have involved lowering prices and this has killed the shop keepers.
In post war Germany three different and very interesting retail businesses appeared, Lidl, Aldi and Metro and they closed the corner grocery store.
Reuters, 18th February, 2013 comments; "He [Otto Beisheim] had helped introduce to Germany in the 1960s the concept of 'cash and carry', warehouse-type shops where trade customers such as hotels and restaurants go to buy products in bulk.
The Metro group, now the world's fourth-largest retailer, described him as a "pioneer".
'With his self-service cash-and-carry concept, he revolutionized the sector in the mid 1960s', said Metro Chief Executive Olaf Koch".
The New York Times, 21st February, 2013, reports; "Otto Beisheim, who revolutionized retailing in postwar Germany by introducing the concept of selling wholesale goods directly to customers and the builder of the country’s largest retailer, Metro, was found dead on Monday at his home in Bavaria. He was 89.
"It is now the third-largest retailer in Europe, behind Carrefour of France and Tesco of Britain. Like Sam’s Clubs and Costco in the United States, Metro stores sell only to members. But Metro members are mostly businesses or professionals.
"After the war, Mr. Beisheim worked as an electronics wholesaler. While traveling in the United States he observed how goods were sold from warehouses to customers for cash. The idea differed from the German practice of placing orders on credit and having goods delivered to retailers or other institutional buyers.
"Returning to Germany, he founded Metro, the country’s first cash-and-carry retailer, in 1964 at Mülheim an der Ruhr, in West Germany’s industrial heartland".
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