How big was Klosterfrau in the mid-1970s?
Back then, our sales totalled between €80 million and €90 million. The product range consisted of nearly 12 items, above all Klosterfrau Melissengeist. Today, we have more than 200 products, and sales total about €500 million.
What role have new sales partners like METRO GROUP played in this growth?
Such growth would never have been possible without them. A large share of the self-medication business, which has a volume of about €8 billion in Germany, is done by food retailers. At METRO GROUP, most of our products are listed at Real's hypermarkets and less at METRO Cash & Carry. There is one other consideration as well: outside Germany, many of our products may be sold only by pharmacies.
The experience you gained in your work with the German Brands Association and the German Centre for Protection Against Unfair Competition has shown you the type of problems that can occur in the relationship between industry and retail. You have been working with METRO representatives there for many years. In May, you became President of the German Centre for Protection Against Unfair Competition - and succeeded Professor Erich Greipl, the late member of the Supervisory Board at METRO AG, in July 2013. What is the working relationship like?
We stand side by side. We know that we have a common interest: the customers' well-being. There have not been any critical reservations up to now. But, generally speaking, the relationship between industry and retail is experiencing different stresses today in light of increased competition. In recent times, retailers have become quite creative in developing own brands. Producers typically keep a close eye on events in such cases.
This is where it all began in 1826: in the historic headquarters of Klosterfrau Melissengeist not far from the Cologne Cathedral.