Deichmann posted annual sales of €4.5 billion for 2012, representing a currency-adjusted increase of 7.4 percent. The big German-based retailer says it has continued to grow of the past few years in real terms, without passing along to consumers the increasing cost pressure caused by the dollar exchange rate and wage increases in supplier countries.

The group, which was founded by the Deichmann family in 1913, sold 165 million pairs worldwide during 2012, about 5.7 percent more than in the preceding year and double the volume of a decade ago. In the German market, which declined by 2 percent in value and by 4 percent in volume, the company sold about 74.7 million pairs of shoes during the year, up from 73.4 million in 2011, yielding a net sales value of €1.59 billion, up by 1.56 percent on the previous year.

The German shoe retailer plans to make record investments amounting to around €231 million during 2013. The group currently operates about 1,300 stores in Germany and expects to add another 72 during 2013, while shutting down 32 units that it considers to be unattractive.

It also expects to recruit another 400 people in Germany, adding to a staff of more than 14,000 people in the country. The company says that it pays its staff more than the general pay scale, providing extra health prevention and pension schemes. A special benevolent fund supports them if they are in distress.

The share of foreign sales stood at 58 percent for 2012. In the future, the group intends to boost its international expansion further, in order to reduce its dependence on any particular market.By the end of 2012, the group had 3,325 stores worldwide, employing a total of about 33,700 people, against 32,500 stores and 3,175 employees at the end of 2011. In 2013, Deichmann intends to open 194 stores abroad, in addition to the new domestic openings. One of the major foreign investments will consist of a new 11,000 square meters distribution center in Waalwijk, Netherlands, where its subsidiary Van Haren is based.

In the spring, Deichmann will open its first stores in Bosnia and Herzegovina, continuing its development in all of south-eastern Europe, which it started with Hungary in 2001. The group has also announced that it is exploring the possibility of expanding into the Russian market, without mentioning any dates.At the end of 2013, the group will inaugurate a fifth distribution centre in Monsheim, in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, representing an investment of roughly €90 million. The facility will include a 20,000-m² warehouse, with a capacity to ship 20 million pairs of shoes per year.

Deichmann, which began to sell shoes over the internet in Germany back in 2000, continues to pursue a multi-channel retailing approach on an international basis. Its online sales in 13 foreign countries are growing at annual rates of between 40 and 65 percent.

Run by Heinrich Deichmann since 1999, the group was the first German shoe retailer to expand abroad at the beginning of the 1990s under the management of his father, Heinz-Horst Deichmann, who in turn took over the reins of the company from his mother Julie in 1956.

About 20 years ago, Deichmann was also the first shoe retailer to make use of TV commercials to any noticeable extent. A new commercial spot featuring Halle Berry, the Academy Awards winner, will go live on March 5 on various German TV channels and in other European countries where Deichmann has a presence.

Deichmann was recently named “family enterprise of the year” for 2012 by a German economic magazine, Impulse, and by a German academy for family-owned companies.