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Media-Saturn chairman: “online has its limits”

Media-Saturn chairman: “online has its limits”

The Media-Saturn Group wants to open 50 new physical stores across Europe. The German electronics retail group wants to focus more on its omnichannel-strategy. Although the company’s goal with the internet business is still to be worth 15 to 20 percent of its total revenue, the resurrection of the physical store has come in between, says Pieter Haas, chairman of the management board.

That’s what Pieter Haas told the Donaukurier from Ingolstadt, the German city where Metro’s subsidiary Media-Saturn is based. For the retail group, its internet business currently accounts for 8 percent of the total revenue. The next goal is to reach ten percent. “In Europe, the industry average is 14 percent”, says Haas, who also explains that in the medium to long term, Media-Saturn wants to end up with 15 to 20 percent of the total revenue consisting of online sales. “I can’t give you an exact date. We want to keep pace with the market.”

The resurrection of the physical store
Responding to the interviewer’s question “If nothing comes in between?”, Haas says something has intervened already. “Namely, the resurrection of the physical store. And that’s good. Four years ago people would’ve said that online trading will soon account for 40 percent of sales. But you see, that online has its limits. Instead, online retailers like Amazon are opening its own stores. In the past two years, there was the fear of being overtaken by ecommerce and that stores had to be closed. “People predicted a dark future for us. But now? Everyone is talking about omnichannel and multichannel. The customers do like to go to the physical stores again.”

So Media-Saturn is still (or again) betting on physical retail. It wants to open a further 50 stores internationally, so there will be approximately 1050 Media-Markt, Saturn or Redcoon stores worldwide. But it wants to try different concepts, such as Saturn Connect or Media Markt City Stores. The latter for example, will be tested in Turkey. “Previously, we would have said ‘everything under 3,000 square meters of space won’t work’. But those times are over. In Russia, we will open Media Markt Test Stores in Metro Markets. These are exciting experiences. Not all tests will be successful, but if we don’t fail from time to time, we won’t learn anything.”

Focus on Russia, Turkey and Poland
Media-Saturn now wants to focus more on Russia. “It may sound strange now because of the political situation, but we only have a 4 percent market share there. Turkey and Poland are also among the priorities. And of course, Germany; that’s where we have the most stores.”