Bouncing Back Back to Growth for Online Retailer Otto

Otto Group, Germany's second-largest online retailer behind Amazon, has reported a 10-percent sales increase for last year to almost €7 billion and hopes to be on the way up.
Deputy board chairman Mr. Hillebrand had reason to be in a celebratory mood.

Otto Group, the second largest internet retailer in Germany and one of the five largest online retailers worldwide, has presented its annual results in Berlin. Things are clearly looking up.

According to current and provisional figures, sales in the current financial year have risen to almost €7 billion, or $7.4 billion. That’s an increase of €615 million, or almost 10 percent, in one year. Sales in Germany accounted for €4.9 billion, up from €4.5 billion in the previous year.

“We achieved double-digit growth in numerous companies of the group,” said Rainer Hillebrand, the deputy chairman of Otto’s executive board, who is responsible for corporate strategy and e-commerce. Mr. Hillebrand added that the group had “already implemented the digital transformation very well, in other companies we have to continue to work on it.”

Werner Otto founded the company, originally a mail-order business selling shoes, in 1949. The Hamburg-based company grew steadily and started operations abroad in the 1980s and internet sales in 1995.

Competing with the U.S. retailing giant hasn't been easy, according to chairman, Michael Otto, who has pushed for a more level playing field, but the annual results suggest the firm is making progress. Otto Group is Germany’s second-largest online retailer behind Amazon and ahead of the Berlin-headquartered fashion retailer Zalando.