The biggest German and European cooperative of independent shoe retailers, the ANWR Group, had a positive business year in 2013. The total business volume, including the operations of ANWR Schuh, Quick Schuh, ANWR Garant International, Rexor, Goldkrone and Sport 2000, increased by about €250 million to a total of €7.8 billion, as compared to the previous year. The ANWR Group expects its business volume in 2014 to pass the €8 billion threshold.

The main reasons for last year's increase of 3.0 percent were higher volumes of orders invoiced in the shoe and sporting goods segment and positive results in the financial services segment. The volume of orders processed in behalf of the affiliated retailers, which specialize in footwear, sporting goods and leathergoods, rose by 4.1 percent to almost €2.5 billion, as compared to 2012. The shoe segment, which accounts for the greatest share with an order volume of €1.6 billion, posted a 1.7 percent increase.

The order volume for sporting goods increased by 9.6 percent to €776 million. For the first time, the operations of Sport 2000 in the Netherlands were included, contributing to the growth along with positive developments in Germany and Switzerland. The order volume in the leathergoods segment remained stable at €80 million.

Due to continuously changing weather conditions, the 6,000-odd independent retailers affiliated with ANWR, which manage a total of about 10,000 stores, experienced a difficult business year. Shoe retailers in Germany saw their sales decline by about 0.5 percent, while sporting goods retailers in Germany suffered a decline of 1.8 percent as compared to the previous year.

On the other hand, the DZB Bank and the Aktivbank, the financial institutions controlled by ANWR, raised the volume of their business to €5.3 billion, which represents a rise of 2.5 percent as compared to 2012. Their services include centralized settlements for ANWR's operations in Germany and abroad, factoring for medium-sized companies and cash services for affiliated retailers. 

Among other new initiatives, the ANWR Group launched its online portal, Schuh.de, which had a lot of television exposure in June last year through a cooperative advertising agreement with Skechers. It will be opening its new 01 order center at its headquarters in Mainhausen, near Frankfurt, at the end of January to accommodate the showrooms for 80 brands and to host 17 house fairs each year for the affiliated retailers

Additionally, the ANWR Group is about to launch a new digital ordering platform for affiliated retailers. It will further expand its digital services with the creation of a new service company, ANWR Media, while intensifying its cooperation with the retail industry through point of sale partnerships.