Ariston-Nord-West-Ring and its new subsidiary Garant Schuh + Mode have been trying in the past couple of months to bundle their operations in more and more countries outside Germany and to keep their respective networks of affiliated retailers distinct.

The process is going smoothly in France, where some members are affiliated both to Garant and to ANWR. From the beginning of the next year, Garant will be the cooperative for all French retailers. ANWR's and Garant's services and ranges of goods have been combined already.

In France, many independent retailers are attracted to join the cooperative because its DZB Bank offers to pay their bills ahead of time. This allows them to get over new French regulations that require retailers to pay their suppliers within 60 days instead of 120.

In Belgium, Garant has joined forces with Rexor. In Eastern Europe there will be no changes, as only Garant has been operating in these countries.

Garant and ANWR structures have been combined in the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Austria and Switzerland. ANWR already worked with some Swedish retailers, whereas Garant set up its own business and established partnerships with Norwegian retailers. The management in Sweden will also take care of the company's activities in Norway from now on.

The contracts signed by affiliated members with either ANWR or Garant have not been altered. However, there will be only one address for the cooperative in each country and only one country manager.

In the Netherlands, the consolidation process has led to the departure of some Garant members in in the last couple of months. This might also be due to the success of GMS Netherlands, another buying group from Germany, which extended its activities to the Netherlands at the beginning of the year (see next article).

In Germany, instead, six members that had left Garant have already rejoined the group recently. Garant hopes for more success in getting back former members through the end of this year.