Drugstore Cowboys

Corporate War in the Shampoo Aisle

DM competes in the drugstore market with Alnatura, Rossmann and Müller.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The public image of Germany’s largest drugstore chain, which is in a pitched battle with rival Rossmann for supremacy in market share, might take a hit at a time when DM can least afford it.

  • Facts


    • DM’s founder is suing a longtime business partner in a trademark dispute.
    • The drugstore chain is removing the products of the partner, organic-food producer Alnatura, from its shelves and launching its own line.
    • DM employees complain about mistreatment.
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Shopping at Germany’s largest drugstore chain, DM, is meant to be a friendly experience. Warm lighting, brightly coloured products, organic toiletries.

The chain, which has a presence on virtually every German high street, was founded by Götz Werner, who believed in a people-oriented spiritual philosophy known as anthroposophy.

But employees, suppliers and business partners report that behind DM’s genial facade, a tough-as-nails corporate attitude is increasingly coming to the fore.

For a start, consider a lawsuit filed by Mr. Werner against his longtime business partner and brother-in-law, Götz Rehn, who is chief executive of Alnatura, a range of organic products that once had an exclusive deal with DM.

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