Shortly before Easter, in connection with the GDS fair in Düsseldorf, the German buying group Ariston-Nord-West-Ring (ANWR) presented satisfactory figures for the fiscal year 2007. Total revenues, including the value of centralized settlements, increased by 7.2 percent to €5,487.3 million. Centralized invoicing and settlements alone reached €4.9 billion. The equity/debt ratio rose to 23.6 percent from 22.0 percent in the previous year. The total number of affiliated points of sale grew by 66 to 5,434: While 92 stores left the organization, 158 stores joined it.

Represented by Sport 2000, the sports business suffered a 2.6 percent decrease to €456 million, due to a difficult 2006-07 winter season. Partly due to the increased number of doors and to the difficulties of its main rival, Garant Schuh + Mode AG, ANWR’s total invoiced volume for footwear instead increased by 6.1 percent to €846.2 million. The retailers affiliated with AWR Schuh saw their own sales rise by 2.7 percent in the course of last year, with an increase of 4.1 percent for the Spring/Summer season partly offset by a gain of only 1.2 percent in the recent Fall/Winter season.

Among various other initiatives, ANWR Schuh is launching a new in-store TV scheme that allows the affiliated shoe retailer to run programs of about 25 minutes that mix up seasonal promotions, brand advertising, entertainment and service statements.

The company was especially delighted by the group’s financial services including Aktivbank, a bank specialized in solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) which was acquired by ANWR in2006, and DZB Bank, which also does fulfillment and services for other buying groups outside ANWR, together invoiced no less than €4,179.3 million or 76 percent of the entire group’s turnover. While Aktivbank increased its invoiced turnover by 6.7 percent, other financial services increased by 12.1 percent. Other businesses had sales at €5.8 million, up by 3.6 percent.

The various retail formats that ANWR offers recorded different performances. Quick Schuh, a rather price-driven franchise concept with more than 200 retailers and 400 doors, increased its retail sales by 4.9 percent to more than €140 million, and it is giving a bonus of €200,000 to its retail members for 2008. The quality-inspired format BestPartner pushed retail turnover up by 9 percent to €190 million, with the number of participating stores up by 44 to 313. Twenty new BestPartner stores are in the pipeline for this year.

FootFit is a new concept in Germany that came over from the Netherlands where standalone stores or shops-in-shops for high quality and wellness-oriented shoe stores have an older tradition. In Germany, the first four FootFit outlets were launched in the outgoing winter 2007-08 season. ANWR would like to see 20 to 30 shop-in-shops trading under this new banner in Germany by the end of this year, plus the first stand-alone store. Some 30 suppliers are participating in this program.

Meanwhile ANWR has appointed Fritz Terbuyken as new executive board member in charge of purchasing. The 45-year-old replaces Harald Neisser who left the company at his own request at the end of 2007. Terbuyken has been managing director of Marc Shoes since 2003, in charge notably of exports and of its new retail project, but he has also been involved in sourcing and other operations for its former parent company, MSC Shoe Corp., before its divestitures. His brother Heiner runs the Camel Active shoe license of Gabor Shoes. It is not sure when Fritz Terbuyken will start his new job, but it will probably happen around August.