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Zielpunkt boss Jan Satek has reacted to sale claims with the opening of new stores.

Zielpunkt expansion follows sale rumours

Zielpunkt boss Jan Satek has reacted to sale claims with the opening of new stores.

A new Zielpunkt branch was put into business in Vienna-Ottakring last week. The opening occurred a few days after another Viennese Zielpunkt shop and a store in Graz, Styria, started operating. Zielpunkt now runs 302 stores across Austria. More than one in two are situated in Vienna.

Satek said at the weekend he had no plans to sell Zielpunkt. The German entrepreneur transferred an undisclosed sum to German-Luxembourgian investment enterprise BluO in February to take over the company he managed since 2010. Business newspapers recently claimed that the Zielpunkt board met managers of German supermarket chain Edeka for talks about a takeover.

Satek took the opportunity of the new openings to reject the speculations and emphasised that he wanted to focus on expansion. Edeka officials rubbished the reports as well. The Zielpunkt boss identified putting on more pressure on Billa in Vienna as one of his goals. Billa, which is part of Rewe Group’s Rewe International branch, dominates the Austrian supermarket business.

Rewe Austria recently claimed it had a market share of 35 per cent. Megastore company Merkur, discounter Penny and drugstore chain Bipa are managed by Rewe Austria as well. Spar Austria is the second-strongest supermarket company in Austria, followed by leading discount chain Hofer. Hofer is part of the German Aldi Süd Group. There are around 5,000 supermarkets in Austria, down from 5,700 in 2004.

Austrians are spending 12 per cent of their incomes on average on food, according to analysis – which also shows that poorly educated people and households with low incomes invest higher percentage points of their available assets on foodstuff. Austrians and foreign residents of the country who earn comparably little also have a tendency towards unhealthy nutrition, experts have said.

Around 220 Euros are spent on food per household and month. Extraordinarily high sums are forked out for fresh milk, potatoes and apples. Austrian supermarkets and organic food stores achieved a profit of 304.4 million Euros by selling organic food last year, slightly less than in 2010 (minus 0.6 per cent). Eggs are the most popular organic food on offer in Austria with a share of nearly 18 per cent. However, organic bananas and coffee are popular too.

Meanwhile, Rewe International head Frank Hensel has appealed on supermarket industry watchdogs and business authorities to create clearer rules regarding firm chiefs’ communication with distributors and suppliers. Rewe Austria’s actions are currently under close scrutiny by the Austrian Competition Authority (BWB).

Hensel said company heads must be allowed to debate details of planned special offers with suppliers. The German businessman – whose firm is accused of having been engaged in illegal price fixing – appealed on officials to eradicate the many "grey areas" which existed in Austrian law in this regard in his opinion.

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