Fressnapf, Company head Torsten Toeller (centre) two managing directors Dr Hans-Jörg Gidlewitz (right) and Dr Johannes Steegmann. Photo: Yvonne Ploenes, Fressnapf Holding SE
Company head Torsten Toeller (centre) together with the two managing directors Dr Hans-Jörg Gidlewitz (right) and Dr Johannes Steegmann. Photo: Yvonne Ploenes, Fressnapf Holding SE
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"We have a lot to offer as a partner"

Fressnapf boss Torsten Toeller is mulling over expansion into new countries. As an alternative to new country subsidiaries, he is considering acquiring existing local pet store chains or entering into a joint venture or other form of cooperation with these.
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2020 was an extraordinary year for Fressnapf. In February, founder and proprietor Torsten Toeller was proudly presenting his ambitious plans for the company's 30th anniversary to the annual press conference; a few weeks later, Germany entered lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Europe's leading pet store chain adapted its company model swiftly and effectively to the situation, however. In contrast to firms in many other sectors, Fressnapf did not have to shed a single employee or put any on reduced hours, much to Toeller's relief. In fact, the Krefeld-based enterprise weathered 2020, year of the coronavirus, extremely well financially. Having originally pegged growth of 7 per cent as the target for 2020, sales growth of over 15 per cent and of over ten per cent on a comparable retail area pushed annual sales well beyond the 2.5-bn-euro mark.  Last year, sales in the six online shops the company now operates across Europe rose by as much as 45 per cent. Fressnapf had assumed an increase of 20 per cent here at the start of the year, and even that was considered bold. New stores were opened, albeit rather later than envisaged due to the coronavirus; from an initial plan to open 70 to 80 new stores in 2020, over 50 were realised in the end, the majority of them in foreign markets.
"We are currently growing faster with the classic brands of our suppliers than with our own exclusive brands," says Torsten Toeller, highlighting another phenomenon of coronavirus year 2020. Each type accounts for roughly 50 per cent of the total turnover. To increase its core customer base further, Fressnapf included some new brands in its assortment online and in the stores last year and generally made more room for brands at the POS and in promotions. The retail group remained in constant contact with its suppliers via digital conferences, so as to guarantee a cooperative working relationship even during the pandemic.

Powering into the new year

"We are going on the offensive in 2021. Fressnapf has attained all the goals it has set itself, having added considerable market share in all countries and amassed a well-filled war chest," states Torsten Toeller. This year, the Fressnapf Group intends to open more than 100 new brick-and-mortar stores. Online expansion is also expected to pick up speed, with four more online shops likely to be launched. This will enable the retailer to operate as an ­omnichannel supplier in all eleven markets in which the company has a presence. At the…
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