Otto increases sales by double digits during the Corona crisis

With expected double-digit sales growth in this financial year, the Otto Group is looking to the future with great optimism, but also cautiously. “We have to be prepared for the fact that difficult times can come again,” said Multichannel Distance Selling Board Member Marcus Ackermann. So the question arises of the overall economic situation – whether there will be a recession as a result of the corona pandemic, whether unemployment is rising – or to what extent people are spending their money more on other things, such as traveling, than in the end of the pandemic Order online shop.

This fiscal year However, the Otto Group is growing significantly. “We are assuming that we will have clear double-digit growth,” said Ackermann. He is careful with more precise forecasts. “The financial year continues until the end of February and we have already seen a lot of surprises.” The Otto Group, with around 52,000 employees worldwide, does not only operate online. There are also logistics and distribution, financial services, software solutions and numerous stationary retail stores around the world, which are affected by the corona pandemic in very different ways.

While stationary retail in Germany has to reckon with massive losses due to the corona pandemic according to calculations by the trade association and many businesses fear for their existence, online retailers did brilliant business. The trade association is assuming a total increase in sales of 18 percent to 70 billion euros. Ackermann is particularly pleased that the purchasing activity of the new customers acquired in spring during the first lockdown is still very high. “One can assume that they came to stay.” The Christmas business is also going very well. Although there has been a greater reluctance to use textiles among customers throughout the year, kitchen and electronic equipment, everything for the home office and furniture are all the better. “We have really nice Christmas business for the whole group,” said Ackermann.

With restrictions, this also affects the stationary retail of the Otto Group, which has managed in many places to compensate or even overcompensate for the sales that have collapsed online due to Corona closings, Ackermann said, referring to Manufactum and Crate and Barrel in the USA. Ackermann emphasized that even if the online sector has long been generating the main sales – around 8.1 billion out of 14.3 billion euros in the 2019/2020 financial year – the Otto Group will continue to rely on stationary retail.

“We will keep the business – but whether exactly in this form, time will tell.” There is a tendency towards smaller shops, “where it is more about the subject of experience than about showing the entire range”. In the USA in particular, it has also been shown that many customers like to collect the goods they have ordered from stores themselves. The stationary trade is also good for the online business. Because a presence in cities and municipalities not only generates sales in the shops themselves, but also leads to more activities in the online area. “It’s worth it.”


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