Not a country anymore. But it was when we worked there right after the fall of the Wall in 1989.

What have you done in the DDR?

Well, to be honest, it’s not a country anymore. But it definitely was when we were working there, right after the fall of the Wall in 1989. Created a new hard discount chain within three months. Our client Asko From West Germany entered into a joint venture with the state-owned Konsum organisation. In the chaotic period after the Wall fell this new JV needed to open the first new store within months. From scratch. This was to start of one of our most exciting projects that we had ever done. Originally intended for Poland and Czechoslovakia as well, but that turned out to be daydreaming.

How far along the trend of retail-development was the DDR at the time?

Not very far, to say the least. The DDR was no consumer paradise, the shops were empty, the personnel hardly motivated. It felt like going back in a time machine To the 1950s. The department stores in the inner cities of the DDR showed fading mannequins with fading clothes and empty racks. Entrepreneurs from West and East, many with more enthusiasm than skills, set up pop-up stores before that word existed. Street vendors abounded. The infrastructure had shattered.

Retail Consultant | Eysink Smeets | © 2017