Navigation and service

Food retail trade

The food retail market in Germany is highly concentrated. The four major food retailers EDEKA, REWE, Aldi and the Schwarz group (to which Lidl belongs) together share more than 85 per cent of the market.

Merger control

For years the Bundeskartellamt has exercised strict merger control to prevent the market from "tipping over".

In its case practice it endeavours to ensure that consumers still have an adequate number of food retailers to chose from in their vicinity. When examining a merger project, the Bundeskartellamt therefore makes sure that - after the merger - there remains a sufficient number of shopping alternatives at different retailers in the regions affected by the merger. In addition, in its merger control proceedings the Bundeskartellamt examines whether with the merger the retailers will gain a dominant position on the procurement side.

See the following press releases for further detail:

Control of abusive practices

The control of abusive practices is another tool of the Bundeskartellamt: dominant or powerful companies must not abuse their powerful positions. The Bundeskartellamt monitors compliance with this prohibition and intervenes if it becomes aware of an abusive practice, such as unjustified demands made by retailers of their suppliers (e.g. "wedding rebates").

Further detail:

Sector inquiry

The issues of "buyer power of retailers" and "market dominance on the procurement markets" have recently gained importance which is why in 2011 the Bundeskartellamt initiated a sector inquiry into the food retail sector which was published in September 2014. The inquiry focuses on the competitive conditions in the markets for the procurement of food, beverages and tobacco by food retailers. The sector inquiry provides relevant insights for the Bundeskartellamt's future case practice. It is also intended to give new impetus to the ongoing political debate on the issue at national and European level.

See for further detail: