GSM, the 12-year-old German-based voluntary group, has announced another double-digit increase in centralized settlements on behalf of its retail members for 2016. After rising by 15 percent in 2015, they went up by 16.6 percent to €321 million last year. The growth in the turnover was mainly due to GSM's expansion in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg, and rising sales in the buying group's SportXtreme segment. GMS says it recorded organic growth also in the domestic German market.

Officials of GSM declined to spell out the growth on a same-store basis. They also said that they have stopped publishing figures on the number of affiliated stores, due to a highly competitive market and average values that are statistically not significant enough to be representative. Declining to provide a breakdown by country or by segment, a spokesman for the German voluntary group states that the number of affiliated stores has been rising by about 200 units per year since 2014 when GSM counted about 1,400 affiliated stores. 

Based on the information previously published in Shoe Intelligence, the number of stores affiliated with GMS rose from 1,445 to 1,615 in the first half of 2015 and from 1,615 to around 1,800 in the second half of 2015. Of those, about 1,100 were operating in Germany and the others in the Benelux countries, Austria and France.