The international ANWR Group, the voluntary consortium of independent retailers operating in various European countries, reported an overall increase of 9.5 percent in its total business volume to €9.5 billion for the past year. The growth was driven by a rise of 7.9 percent to €6.7 billion in the turnover of its two specialized financial service companies, DZB Bank and Aktivbank.

ANWR booked a decline in central settlements of 1.2 percent €1.6 billion in 2018. For Sport 2000 and other sporting goods retail operations, however, they rose by 6.7 percent to €1.2 billion. The leathergoods retail segment showed a 2.1 percent increase to €109 million.

The group's two main German retail cooperatives recorded largely stable central settlements, amounting to €797 million for ANWR Schuh and to €89 million for Garant.

At the end of last year, ANWR Schuh had 763 affiliated members with 3,141 stores, while Garant had 460 affiliated retailers with 605 stores. Altogether, ANWR Germany counted 1,223 retail members with 3,746 stores, slightly down from 3,892 stores at the end of the previous year.

Retailers located in northern Germany were more successful than those in the south. ANWR emphasizes that retailers with an additional online business generated better sales than purely physical retailers.

Beginning in 2019, which marks its 100th anniversary, ANWR aims to focus on the people behind the shoe retail trade with its “New Work” initiative, providing consultancy on their qualification for digital, individual and professional competencies to prepare them to meet customers' new requirements.

ANWR currently has ten consultants at work supporting retailers with recommendations. Retailers can attend special workshops, carry out service analyses and book training sessions for themselves and their sales staff. Retailers can also get support in marketing strategy.

ANWR Schuh recommends that affiliated retailers aim to make online sales 15 percent of their total and secure more than five regular suppliers for their shoe stores.

The schuhe.de platform will be relaunched at the end of April this year. Affiliated retailers in Austria will be invited to join the platform as of March. ANWR plans to roll out its schuhe.de platform to other markets, such as Italy and Spain, in the course of this year. The buying group also plans to launch a sports platform similar to schuhe.de by the end of this year. Schuhe.de currently offers more than 60,000 sporting goods.

For its Campus Second trade show in Mainhausen, near Frankfurt, ANWR published a list of its top 50 shoe suppliers. The ranking is headed by Rieker, followed by Gabor, Wortmann and Ecco. Legero is ranked fifth and Paul Green sixth, ahead of Skechers, Birkenstock, Ara and Nike.

ANWR's O1 order center in Mainhausen, which has its own showroom, is currently undergoing a 3,000-square-meter expansion. Nike and Asics will be moving in by December 2019.

In June 2018, after lengthy negotiations, the ANWR Group signed contracts with Nike, Adidas and Reebok, enabling the 1,300-plus shoe retailers affiliated with its ANWR Schuh voluntary group in Germany to order more than 600 select items for delivery in the first quarter of 2019 on favorable terms. These items, including many models of sneakers that are in demand right now, were previously available only to large retail clients. ANWR, which also owns Sport 2000 Deutschland, will act as a single client, invoiced by the brands on behalf of the retailers.

As part of its 100th anniversary, the DZB Bank is giving affiliated retailers in Germany and abroad the option to postpone payments for up to 100 days interest-free, regardless of payment amounts.