Rocket Star

Zalando Zips to the Top of the Heap

Photographic studio lights illuminate a mannequin during product photo shooting at the headquarters of online fashion retailer Zalando SE in Berlin, Germany, on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. Revenue from online shopping in Germany is expected to grow 22 percent this year and 16 percent next year to $73.5 billion -- the fastest of the five biggest European Union countries, according to researcher eMarketer. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg
A product photo shoot at the headquarters of online fashion retailer Zalando.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Zalando, created as a startup by Rocket Internet in 2008, has supplanted Metro as Germany’s biggest online retailer. The company’s success stems in part from its successful use of digital solutions, such as apps for mobile devices.

  • Facts


    • After declining from around €36 to less than €24, Zalando’s share price suddenly jumped to €37.25 last week.
    • Profits have increased from €23 million to almost €51 million.
    • The company’s base of active customers – those who placed at least one order within the last 12 months – has increased from 2.2 to 18.8 million.
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Olaf Koch, the head of German retail group Metro, has actually done everything right.

He has been rebuilding the company for years, has invested in startups and sold subsidiary Kaufhof for a surprisingly high price. The group will soon be split up, which should awaken further growth aspirations. Metro’s share price has increased by about 15 percent since the beginning of the year.

But despite all that, he was unable to stop a major shift in the retail business. As of this week, Metro has been replaced by Zalando as the most valuable retail group in Germany.

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