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Pondering greater expansion abroad

Germany's leading garden centre operator Dehner recently opened its 100th store in Langenhagen, near Hannover. Although the company is intending to slow down its rate of expansion in Germany somewhat in the future, it is considering whether to expand more strongly outside its domestic market.
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At the start of March Dehner opened a new 5 000 m² store on a 20 000 m² site in Langenhagen. The amount invested in the new store, including fittings, came to around € 8 mio.The company currently operates 92 stores in Germany and eight in Austria. This network is now to be enlarged. Having expanded over a long period primarily in southern Germany, Dehner's outlets can now be found all over the country, and the company spies potential for expansion above all in the north. Thus a “BlumenPark” flagship store with a retail area of 10 000 m² will open at the end of April in Hamburg-Marmstorf. This will include a pet supplies department covering an area of 1 000 m². Dehner has already implemented its future-oriented “BlumenPark” concept in a 15 000 m² retail area at the firm’s headquarters in Rain am Lech. Its third new opening this year is scheduled to take place on 14 June at Langenfeld, close to Cologne. There the company’s garden and pet ranges will be displayed over 7 000 m² in a modern building. On 20 September, a further Dehner garden centre is to open in Kiel. And the existing store in Weimar is to be replaced by a new store.For the future, managing director Hans-Jürgen Kendziora anticipates a rate of two to three new openings a year, and he is not ruling out expansion to new foreign markets.Dehner attributes its success to its clear entrepreneurial line, a strong sales range and a motivated, committed team of over 5 000 staff and more than 200 trainees. “Price isn’t everything. It comes only third or fourth on the list of decision-making criteria for the customer. What’s more important is the quality of the range, the depth and breadth of the assortment of goods offered and optimum accessibility of the stores,” states Hans-Jürgen Kendziora.An up-to-date survey of several thousand customers confirms that the firm is on the right track. According to this, the garden centre operator stands out above all on account of its extensive, indepth range, the shopping experience it offers and its quality. However, customers felt that its advertising and communication of the price-performance ratio could be improved. Happily for the company, the customer survey revealed that Dehner enjoys a level of recognition of 90 per cent (unsupported) in Germany – even in locations where it has only been represented for a few years. Dehner intends to pursue its chosen path further in future and be proactive in the market…
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