Real laid the foundation for its strategic repositioning in financial year 2015/16. In this context, the sales line continued to adapt its cost base and structures, optimised its sales network, forged ahead with the modernisation of its store network and further expanded its online business. In addition, more efficient business processes were introduced and new synergies were created: Since the start of October 2015, Real has partnered with Privates Handelshaus Deutschland GmbH (PHD), the procurement cooperative of Bartels-Langness, Georg Jos. Kaes and Klaas & Kock. Both partners benefit from pooled purchasing, with their combined purchasing volume amounting to about 7 per cent of German fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) retail. Real achieved more synergy effects through its cooperative agreement, implemented in April 2015, with Markant Handels- und Industriewaren-Vermittlungs AG, which has been responsible for the settlement of Real’s entire merchandise business ever since. The goal of the sales line is to further promote the company’s repositioning in order to sustainably increase profitability in the coming years.

While realigning the business, Real developed a new concept for selected locations that is being tested for the first time in the Krefeld store. The objective of the so-called hybrid store concept is to adjust the range of goods and services to meet the individual needs of various customer groups, and also to further promote the modernisation process in the retail sector. For this purpose, Real is relying on innovations that take into consideration both emotional and rational customer wishes. For example, the store in Krefeld offers freshly made pizza, pasta and sushi, redesigned presentations of specially defined key merchandise groups (destinations), with goods being presented with more service and advice, and further expands digital networking opportunities and offerings, such as e-coupons, electronic receipts and apps. In this way, Real aims to specifically address target customer groups and to win new customers.

An important element of this strategy is the significant strengthening of customer orientation. In order to create a basis for specific measures, Real analysed customer needs in detail. With the clear focus on high quality of service as well as on customer orientation, the range of products and services as well as the corresponding employee qualification are to be continuously improved.

With the hybrid approach, Real is defining the guidelines for future action and also striving to make a significant contribution to an improved earnings position. The hybrid store concept supplements other repositioning measures that were already implemented successfully or initiated in recent years. These include, among other things, the ongoing portfolio optimisation, the implementation of the efficiency programme for competitive cost structures, and an adjustment of the wage structure through a collective agreement for the future, which is to be negotiated directly between Real and the trade union Verdi.

Real has also set clear goals in the areas of sustainability, online business and innovation. The sales line is striving to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 per cent per square metre of selling space by 2030, using 2011 as the base year. For this purpose, Real is investing in – among other things – improvements to the energy efficiency of stores, new refrigerated counters for sales areas, the use of new light sources and optimisations in the area of waste disposal. In financial year 2015/16, Real also adopted a purchasing guideline with the goal of expanding the share of sustainable products to 30 per cent of the entire range by 2019.

At the same time, Real is systematically driving innovation – for example, in the mobile payment area. Today, customers can already collect points in Real stores with their mobile phone, pay with their mobile phone and have a receipt sent to their mobile phone. In light of increasing demand, Real will also expand its online range as well as its delivery service even further in the next financial year. With the agreement to acquire Cologne-based shopping portal Hitmeister, which was signed in March 2016, the sales line is strengthening its competitiveness and accelerating the growth of its online business.