Retailers, consumers and prices
Eckhard Cordes likes football. The chief executive of the
world’s third largest retailer Metro likes German Bundesliga
club Bayern Munich, to be more precise. And he likes giving
examples. “I tend to give examples, sometimes silly
examples,” he admitted at the company’s annual news conference
on Wednesday in Duesseldorf, Germany.
So when he was asked to explain a new structure at Metro’s Cash
& Carry business — which some analysts had seen as a demotion
of the unit’s head Frans Muller, who has to give some of his
responsibilities to Joel Saveuse — he made use of his passion.
“I’m a fan of Bayern Munich,” he began and went on to say
what a fantastic job Dutchman Arjen Robben had done recently in
the absence of Bayern’s playmaker Franck Ribery. The Frenchman
returned to action in January after three months out due to
injury. “Now, Ribery is back. But just because Ribery is back
doesn’t mean that Robben will now all of the sudden play less
well,” Cordes said.
“And at Metro, it’s the same: Our Arjen is called Frans and
Franck is Joel. That’s the truth. You will see a management team
as solid as a rock.”
Even Muller had to smile at the comparison to Bayern
Munich’s deadly duo.
It’s deja vu at Arcandor. Five years ago, the company was still called KarstadtQuelle and it was on the brink of insolvency. It took a dramatic last-minute rescue to save the company. Today, it finally filed for insolvency.
In 2004, the company said part of the problem was that there were not enough customers at its department stores, or at least those that were there were not spending enough. And consumers were not ordering enough goods from its hefty mail-order catalogs, Quelle and Neckermann.