The European Retail Rankings focusses on the leading retailers in Europe and puts them in perspective. This is a report where the numbers are all important, though we also give some background information both by sector and by country. We provide a three-year record of the main statistics (in so far as they are available) with a summary table of the 350 leading retailers in Europe as well as where those retailers operate and what sectors they operate in.

The cut off point is sales of €481 million this year.

Currency translation is a necessary evil. In theory it should make data comparable and it should iron out changes in relative economic performance, but that is not always the case and fluctuations are inevitable.

Report scope

This report provides a snapshot of the leading retailers in Europe, ranked by 2018 revenues translated into Euros at the average rate ruling through the year. We cover the top 350 European retailers and include country and sector sections, which detail those of the top 350 companies that are present in those markets. In the text we cover the main trends by country and sector and the leading retailers in each country and sector as well.

The European Retail Rankings is one of a series of Mintel reports looking at the retail sector across Europe. Its companion, the UK Retail Rankings, provides a comprehensive overview of UK retailers. These reports draw on Mintel’s Retail Interactive database of leading European retailers: all the information in the European Retail Rankings is contained in the database, which is updated on a regular basis.

This report focuses on leading retailers only; for data on the performance of retail sectors across Europe and the macro-economic context, readers are referred to Mintel’s European Retail Handbook - September 2019 or the key sector reports, such as Supermarkets – Europe, November 2019 and Clothing Retailing – Europe, October 2019, and the DIY, Beauty, Electricals and Online Retailing reports of earlier in the year

We focus on the key operational statistics and ratios: sales, profits, store numbers and sales areas. However, many companies do not provide so much information.

There are some companies where we have no option but to estimate figures, for example, those that publish very limited data, such as Aldi or Lidl. We would sometimes rely on directories, such as Dahne Verlag, to help us in such circumstances. In many countries companies are expected to file accounts and we can access those. But they are not always very helpful, especially where the group structure is complicated or the business is primarily a wholesaler and does not provide a retail sales estimate (see Coops and Voluntary groups, below).

For some companies we have also provided estimates for the latest financial year. Where possible, we work with published data and we make no adjustments to allow for different accounting standards. In practice, this means that retail profitability in Germany is probably understated relative to the Netherlands or the UK. But we have no basis to adjust for such discrepancies.

We must emphasise that the majority of data in this report is published. There are some estimates, but we try to avoid estimating where possible and we do not estimate profitability.

Technicalities and accounting practices are dealt with in the Technical Notes. As far as is possible, Mintel has attempted to present corporate data that is comparable, one example of this is by excluding sales tax.

The data is contained in the accompanying Databook.

Each table in the spreadsheet is structured in the same way. Each company can be identified by its overall ranking in Europe’s top 350 and that helps with cross referencing.

Excel tables

The main tablesin the Databook contain the basic data – sales, store numbers and sales per store. There is a link on the main table to a secondary table where we also have operating profits, margins, sales areas and sales densities.

All data is in Euros.

The main elements of the tables are:

  • Country or Sector Ranking

  • Overall European Retail Ranking

  • Company name

  • Country of origin (see below)

  • Code for trading area (see below, not for country pages)

  • Code for main sector of operation (see below, not for sector pages)

  • Month of year-end

  • Retail sales (2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19)

  • Number of stores (2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19)

  • Sales per store (2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19).

The secondary table contains:

  • Operating profit (2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19)

  • Operating margin (2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19)

  • Sales area (2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19)

  • Sales per sq m (2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19).

We include data for any country that a Euro top 350 retailer reveals data for. The data is included in the Databook, though we only include an overview for the following countries:

  • Austria

  • Belgium

  • Bulgaria

  • Croatia

  • Czechia

  • Denmark

  • Estonia

  • Finland

  • France

  • Germany

  • Greece

  • Hungary

  • Ireland

  • Italy

  • Latvia

  • Lithuania

  • Netherlands

  • Norway

  • Poland

  • Portugal

  • Romania

  • Russia

  • Slovakia

  • Slovenia

  • Spain

  • Sweden

  • Switzerland

  • Turkey

  • UK.

The sectors covered are as follows:

  • Clothing and footwear

  • DIY

  • Electricals

  • Food

  • Furniture and carpets

  • Health & Beauty

  • Home shopping

  • Miscellaneous specialists

  • Mixed goods (includes department stores).

Technical notes

Inclusion criteria

The ranking includes the top 350 retailers in Europe, ranked according to their sales in 2018 (or the financial year closest to this). We have generally excluded buying groups from the analysis, but have included voluntary groups. The guiding principal is what it looks like to consumers. If it looks like a multiple retailer then it is included, but if it is a group of businesses that have got together to do no more than pool buying power, then it is not. On that basis Leclerc, Intermarché, Edeka and Intersport should certainly be included. We have also included Expert and Euronics, electricals buying groups whose strategy has been to develop as voluntary groups.

Where a company has interests in sectors other than retailing, these have been excluded where possible. However, often this has not been possible, and in these instances, this is marked with a note. When retail interests are only part of a company's activities, figures for pre-tax and net profits for retail activities are often not available. This can also lead to some distorted figures in terms of sales per outlet and sales per sq m, as is the case for companies with many franchisees.

The guiding principal is that the main business of the company is selling goods to consumers – ie they operate shops or home shopping businesses (or both). So we do not include wholesalers or cash and carries. The main exception to this is retailers that operate franchise networks or voluntary groups. Often the only information for such businesses is consolidated turnover and that can understate total sales at retail values. How much they are understated depends on the sector and the average gross margin that could be expected and that varies widely from under 30% in food retailing to perhaps well over 100% in luxury goods. Members of voluntary groups also buy goods from sources other than the central buying operation of their group. That also needs to be estimated. It is worth emphasising that even where a voluntary group publishes sales at retail sales values, the figure is still only an estimate, because often the voluntary group themselves don’t really know.

The figures given in this report relate to a company's operations in Europe only, which we define as including all of Western, Central and Eastern Europe, including Turkey (and Greenland) and Russia. In some cases it has not been possible to identify an organisation's retail sales in Europe only. In these situations Mintel has either estimated the European element of the business or added a note that the figure includes some non-European sales.


  • Sales are presented excluding sales taxes (see below for details of this).

  • Operating profit is trading profit after normal operating costs and depreciation, but before interest, goodwill amortisation and exceptional items.

  • Pre-tax profit is calculated after all costs, including exceptionals, interest, and non-cash charges such as amortisation, but before tax.

  • Where possible sales areas are quoted net, ie they exclude storage and office space. All figures are in square metres (sqm).

  • To convert into square feet:1 square metre = 10.76 square feet

  • Sales per sq m and sales per outlet are computed on the average size/store numbers during the year, which helps to remove any distortions from a rapid opening/closure programme.


All the company information in this report relates solely to the top 350 European retailers. It is these companies that have been analysed by sector and country, facilitating the sector and country rankings. It is important to stress therefore, that these sector and country rankings only include the players that rank within the overall top 350. So, for example, the table entitled Top 350 European Retailers in Denmark relates only to those companies in the European top 350 that operate in Denmark – it is not a complete list of all the top retailers in Denmark. Similarly, the tables in the sector rankings chapters relate only to those players in the top 350 ranking, and are not complete lists of the key players in each sector. Clearly, in many instances, this may equate to the same thing, but it is not always the case.

Note also that we are constrained by the information available. For many companies we do not have sales for local subsidiaries and we may only have store numbers – if that. It is also our perception that on the whole companies are becoming less informative. There are companies such as Kesko that seem to tell you everything, but often when two companies merge – Fnac and Darty or Dixons and Carphone Warehouse, for example- the result is a less informative annual report and accounts.

Within the main ranking – The Top 350 European Retailers – subsidiary trading companies are not included separately, but are subsumed within the parent company. Therefore there are no separate entries for example, OBI (part of Tengelmann) or Argos (part of Sainsbury’s).

Throughout the report, rankings are computed on 2018 retail sales (see comparability below). The overall European ranking is used in all the sector and country tables to aid comparisons.

In general the tables represent the status of companies in 2018. But where a merger or takeover has taken place, we put in the pro-forma figures even when no figures for the combined group have been published.

Where applicable, we have amalgamated subsidiaries of the same parent company when active in the same sector or country to reflect the true standing of a retail company in a particular market.

Occasionally the sum of subsidiaries listed does not equal the total given. There are a number of possible reasons for this:

  • Information on all subsidiaries is not always available. As a result, in some cases we have an entry for the parent company and for selected subsidiaries only

  • Subsidiaries may have been divested after year-end. We present companies as presently constituted

  • Rounding of figures

  • Currency conversions, if original data for different subsidiaries was in different currencies (companies often provide information in local currencies)

  • VAT (sales tax) – if original data was provided gross (including sales tax), we have extracted VAT at the relevant rates for countries concerned and at the estimated appropriate rates depending on product categories sold.

A note on voluntary groups and co-ops

We use the terms voluntary group, symbol group, franchise or co-op in this report and it is worth just explaining what they mean.

There are two sorts of co-operative group in Europe. The first, seen most often in the UK, is a retailer that is owned by its customers. In effect this is therefore a multiple retailer and while it may have a different ethos it has an operating board that is responsible to its owners, like any other company.

The second is a business owned by its retailers and this is the model of all the major co-operatives around Continental Europe. The difference between this sort of co-operative and a voluntary group is relatively small.

A voluntary group, or symbol group, is a retail format operated by a holding company that retailers can join. When they do they accept the group’s fascia and agree to adhere to its rules which include taking a proportion of goods from the central organisation, running its promotions and maintaining store standards. There are other services that are to some extent optional, such as store layouts.

Franchise operations are very similar to voluntary groups and it is far beyond the scope of this report to explain the differences, though the conditions of a franchise agreement are much more stringent than for a voluntary group.

So with the exception of the UK co-operative model, these three operations are essentially very similar.

For the purposes of this report it is worth pointing out two more points about voluntary groups:

  • Sales. The central organisation does not know what the sales of its members are. It knows how much it sells to the retailers and it knows the price at which it sells. But it does not know the price at which the goods are sold on to customers or the amount of goods the retailer buys in from other sources. So the sales that we report are an estimate put together by the voluntary groups themselves.

  • Profits. The profit made by the central organisation is not a guide to the overall profitability of the fascia and we are not aware of any voluntary group that tries to estimate that.


The compilation of a report such as this is a very complex task, primarily due to differences between countries in terms of financial reporting procedures. The main issues are presented below and it is worth bearing these in mind when using the European Retail Rankings, but as far as possible Mintel has attempted to represent corporate data that is as comparable as we can make it.


All figures in the rankings tables are presented in euros. The countries currently in the eurozone are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. Lithuania joined the Euro on 1st Jan 2015. Note that we make no allowance for any changes to exchange rates since the end of 2018. We take the view that the correct rate to use is the average exchange rate ruling during the year in question.

Figure 1: Exchange rates: national currency against the Euro, 2015-18
Country Currency Symbol 2015 2016 2017 2018
Bulgaria Bulgarian lev BGN 1.95 1.96 1.96 1.96
Croatia Croatian Kuna HRK 7.60 7.51 7.46 7.39
Denmark Danish krone DKr 7.46 7.44 7.44 7.46
Hungary Hungarian forint HUF 305.58 311.14 309.25 318.84
Norway Norwegian krone NKr 8.94 9.29 9.34 9.61
Poland Polish zloty PLN 4.18 4.36 4.27 4.27
Romania Romanian lei RON 4.44 4.48 4.57 4.65
: : : : : : :
: : : : : : :
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit/Mintel

Financial years

The companies are ranked on their total retail sales in 2018 or the financial year closest to it, ie financial years ending between July 2018 and June 2019. Most retailers have years ending in December, January or March, which means that the column headed 2018/19 approximates to the outcome for the 2018 calendar year and allows for proper comparisons between companies with differing year-ends.


All company sales figures are quoted exclusive of sales taxes (VAT).

In general multiple retailers that publish their accounts publish sales excluding tax. However, we have noticed that many, probably most, voluntary groups that have to estimate the retail sales of their members publish a figure including VAT. Very few retailers give both figures.

In order to facilitate comparisons across Europe Mintel estimates ex-VAT sales where necessary using the standard rate of VAT in the country of operation, adjusting where necessary for products (notably food and books) that attract lower rates.

Figure 2: VAT rates around Europe, 2013-19
01-Jan-13 01-Jan-14 01-Jan-15 01-Jan-16 01-Jan-17 01-Jan-18 01-Jan-19
% % % % % % %
Austria 20 20 20 20 20 20 20
Belgium 21 21 21 21 21 21 21
Czech Republic 21 21 21 21 21 21 21
Denmark 25 25 25 25 25 25 25
Finland 24 24 24 24 24 24 24
France 19.6 20 20 20 20 20 20
: : : : : : : :
: : : : : : : :


The nuances of accounting practices are outside the scope of this report. But it is worth noting that accounting procedures vary considerably by country and that these differences in themselves make comparing companies from different countries difficult. Every country has different accounting standards due to differences in legal systems and business customs and these can affect how figures are drawn up. As an example, in Germany and France accounts are drawn up for statutory purposes and are the basis for computing tax. The UK model is fundamentally different: accounts are published for shareholders and taxation is controlled by law in a way that is independent of published accounts. Comparisons of profitability of companies using such different methods need to be treated with caution.


The sector, country and region codes used throughout this report are as follows.

Figure 3: Sector codes
Broad sector Broad sector code Sectors included
Clothing/footwear clft Footwear
clft Clothing
Electricals elec Electricals
Food retailers fdrt Food specialists
fdrt Co-ops
fdrt Grocers
: : :
: : :

The country codes used are the internet codes used for each country, with a couple of extras for groups of countries.

Figure 4: Country codes
Country Code
Albania al
Andorra ad
Austria at
Belarus by
Belgium be
Bosnia-Herzogovina ba
Bulgaria bu
: :
: :


e Mintel estimate
p Provisional data
na Not available or not applicable


In compiling this report Mintel has drawn upon a variety of sources. These include published annual reports and accounts, other information direct from companies, trade press, local press, and other published sources of information, to which Mintel is grateful for permission to reproduce information. These include the following:

  • Dähne Verlag European DIY Retailers

  • Kaeder I Dansk Detailhandel (Denmark)

  • Kehittyvä Kauppa Kaupan Tekijat (Finland)

  • Market Vem är Vem (Sweden)

  • Pianeta (Supplement of Largo Consumo)

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