Supermarkets resist change

Rewe encounters the displeasure of some Rewe retailers with an innovation.Image: www.imago-images.de / Waldmüller

Anna von Stefanellic

Inflation is putting companies in more and more trouble – even big companies need to rethink. Every industry and every company has its own strategy to cut costs and keep the numbers black. Due to rising energy prices and the associated shockingly expensive paper production, Rewe recently announced that it wanted to say goodbye: The printed leaflets and leaflets of the supermarket giant should be a thing of the past from 2023 and only available digitally. But now the plan is crumbling.

In fact, flyers at Rewe should soon be a thing of the past.

In fact, flyers at Rewe should soon be a thing of the past.Image: dpa / Sebastian Gollnow

Rewe retailers fear negative consequences of the digital strategy

Some independent Rewe dealers feel “not really involved” in the decision. They fear that omitting printed flyers and brochures could have a negative effect on frequency and sales. It is therefore questionable whether the company’s digitization plan will actually be implemented as announced, the “Lebensmittelzeitung” reports.

The cooperatively organized company has therefore toned down the implementation somewhat. The traders of the group are free to follow the group line in terms of flyers.

A patchwork quilt threatens Rewe. Because: The group has approximately 1,500 Rewe retailers in Germany. There are only about 3700 markets. With over 2000, more than half of the Rewe markets are in the hands of independent retailers. The Cologne group is less and less in charge of the group companies.

Nevertheless, the head office in Cologne is optimistic: According to the report, management is confident it will still be able to dispel skepticism about printed flyers in its own ranks.

Decision taken together – but some feel ignored

After all, the decision was preceded by several tests at individual locations. The goal of introducing this now for all Rewe stores was also partially achieved with the sales team. For example, regulatory bodies with representatives of traders supported the abolition of handouts. However, that does not change the dissatisfaction of some traders.

That such fierce resistance is generated comes as a surprise to the group.

Printed flyers have become indispensable for some retailers.

Printed flyers have become indispensable for some retailers. null / Tree4Two

Even within the supervisory board, the digitization push in the area of ​​handouts is controversial. For example, Lutz Richath, a member of Rewe’s highest control body, is critical of the abolition. There are indications that he will stick to the printed handout after July 1, 2023. He won’t confirm this, but he won’t rule it out either. He says, “We haven’t made a decision yet.” Richath is not alone in this opinion. As the “Lebensmittelzeitung” writes, other traders express themselves in the same way.

But there are also many people behind the group’s decision. For example, Frank Runkel wants to abolish the print product by the end of 2022: The arguments: “The step is too late. The institution saves costs and is good for the environment,” says the Rewe dealer from Mettman.

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