Ceconomy was created in 2017 following the break-up of Germany's one-time retail giant Metro Group. The old group's cash & carry and hypermarket operations were spun off as a separate company, now Metro, and the old entity was renamed Ceconomy to manage the faster-growing MediaMarkt (or MediaWorld) and Saturn retail chains. It is Europe's biggest consumer electronics platform by far, operating an extensive bricks and mortar network of 1,020 stores across 14 countries in the region, as well as a substantial online presence. The group sells a full range of products from computer equipment and TVs to household appliances and telecoms devices. MediaMarkt is the bigger by far of the two chains, with more than 850 stores to Saturn's 170 or so. However, performance has been lacklustre since the spin off from Metro, at least in part as a result of fierce competition from online rivals, particularly Amazon. Ceconomy has responded by slashing costs, especially on staffing, and introducing regular promotional discounting offers. Combined sales for the year to Sep 2020 were €20.8bn. Net loss was €237m. German-speaking markets alone accounted for more than half that sum, followed by Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Austria. In addition to the group's own operations, it has a strategic equity alliance with FNAC Darty, the local leader in France. However, Ceconomy's operations in Russia, trading as M.video, were spun off to local retailer Safmar at a substantial loss in 2018. It retains a minority stake. In a similar arrangement, the group sold a controlling stake in its operations in Greece in 2019 to local retailer Olympia Group. Pieter Haas stepped down as group CEO in 2018 and was eventually replaced by Joern Werner. He was himself replaced a year later by Bernhard Duettmann. Though the group is still publicly quoted, a majority of voting shares are divided between the three founding families of the Metro warehouse business, the Beisheim, Schmidt-Ruthenbeck and Haniel families. Erich Kellerhals founded MediaMarkt in Germany in 1979; Metro Group took a controlling stake in the business a decade later and acquired competitor Saturn in 1990.
Capsule checked 13th September 2020
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Historical profile information for Metro Group
Adbrands Daily Update 23rd Jul 2021: Accenture restarted its acquisition drive with its first significant deal in almost a year. It has agreed to buy MediaMarkt Saturn Content Factory, the inhouse marketing subsidiary of the pan-European consumer electronic retailer, for an undisclosed sum. That will give Accenture control of one of Germany's biggest ad accounts. In addition to its operations in Germany, the MediaMarkt and Saturn chain have outlets in 12 other European markets.
Adbrands Weekly Update 9th February 2017: Shareholders of German retail giant Metro approved its separation into two separate companies. The existing group's Metro cash and carry and Real hypermarket businesses will be spun off into a separate entity which will adopt the Metro name. The remaining company, consisting of the MediaMarkt and Saturn electronics retail chains, will be renamed Ceconomy. That process is expected to complete mid-year.
Adbrands Weekly Update 31st Mar 2016: German group Metro, currently the 5th largest retailer in Europe, is to split into two separate public companies. The group's core cash & carry business and what remains of its supermarket division will be spun off into a separate entity led by current group CEO Olaf Koch, leaving consumer electronics behemoth Media-Saturn as the core of the renamed group. This comprises the twin European chains MediaMarkt and Saturn. It already operates as a separate division within the current group under CEO Pieter Haas. Annual revenues for Media-Saturn were almost €22bn last year, while the cash & carry and food retail units generated a combined €37bn. However, combined growth has been more or less flat for several years, and Metro's share price has significantly underperformed the market. The new move is designed to free up both businesses to pursue their own separate paths.
Adbrands Weekly Update 17th Dec 2015: German retail giant Metro Group, owners of the huge Media Markt-Saturn consumer electronics business and Real supermarkets as well as the Metro cash & carry, reported another flat performance for the year to Sept. Reported sales slid 1% to €59.2bn, partly as a result of exchange rates and the sale of its Galeria Kaufhof department store to Canada's HBC. Like for like sales rose 1.5%. However losses from continuing operations rose dramatically from negative €3m to negative €221m. Bottom line was saved only by proceeds from the Kaufhof sale, resulting in a €714m surplus.
Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Jun 2015: Canadian retail group HBC took its first steps into Europe with a deal to acquire Germany's biggest department store chain Galeria Kaufhof from Metro Group for €2.42bn. The group, which owns Canadian store Hudson's Bay Company as well as US-based Saks 5th Avenue, plans to use some of Kaufhof's current retail estate as a platform to launch the Saks brand into Germany. The European company owns 103 Kaufhof department stores and 16 Sportarena sports equipment outlets in Germany, as well as the Inno department store chain in Belgium. HBC beat off a rival bid from the owner of Germany's other major department store business Karstadt.
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