Coop is the second largest retailer in Switzerland after Migros, with about 1,500 outlets and 44,000 employees. In 2005, it had a turnover of €8.6bn. It has 20 per cent of the country’s food retail business. As well as supermarkets, the Coop group also includes petrol stations, hotels and a host of subsidiary companies. But what do you need to make a successful supermarket? In the first of a series on branding, we look at the companies that make Coop a star store.
A Dutch family run firm with 500 employees and an annual turnover of €50m that specialises in shop-fittings for food retailers, pharmacies and dentists, among others. It has offices across Europe. In Switzerland it works with Coop and rival Migros. Associated business Van Keulen Kooien, sells pet cages all over the world.
The business was founded in 1978 by a group of Swiss banks to establish and operate a new ATM system for the whole of the country – and Lichtenstein too. In addition to 5,521 cashpoints, Telekurs has 98,200 point of sale terminals which, in 2005, took 248 million electronic card payments. The head office is in Zürich.
In 1974, the US firm Photographic Services Corporation was the first company to manufacture a barcode scanner. The first product to be scanned was a 10-pack of Wrigley’s chewing gum in the Marsh supermarket in Troy, Ohio. Today it supplies 24 of the top 25 US supermarkets and employs 800 people.
Founded in 1908, Regent AG is the largest lighting company in Switzerland. A pioneer of “eye-friendly lighting”, it employs 515 people and says it takes 700 orders on an average day. Headquartered in Basel, it also has offices in Austria, Germany, Italy and France. Clients include the Calvin Klein store in Milan and the British Museum, London.
The Swiss ventilation firm Hesco was taken over by Germany’s Trox Group in 1998. Today the combined company has an annual turnover of €270m and employs 2,700 people (although just 120 work for this division). The company regularly works with Coop and has supplied the cooling systems for the store’s Basel HQ.
Named after founder Joseph Alain Scherrer, JAS provides uniforms for police forces and shop staff. Founded in 1980 in Aarburg, Switzerland, it employs 50 people. To make sure it can swiftly respond to trends in staff uniforms (style tip: polo shirts are very in), it employs freelance designers, two of whom went on to work for Hugo Boss.
IBM’s heritage is as a cash register business and it still leads the world in till technology. Its biggest European market is Germany. Walmart is also a major buyer. The company thrived during America’s Great Depression because it secured a government contract to maintain employment records for 26 million people.
The largest manufacturer of carrier bags in Europe, Mettler makes both plastic and paper. The industry is competitive and secretive; Mettler does not release sales figures and never attends trade shows. Founded in 1957, its HQ is Morbach, Germany. As well as working with Coop, it also has Burger King and MacDonald’s as clients.