Billa (supermarket)

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Billa AG
FounderKarl Wlaschek Edit this on Wikidata
HeadquartersWiener Neudorf, Lower Austria, Austria
Number of locations
3,645 stores (2014)
Key people
Robert Nagele,
Elke Wilgmann
RevenueIncrease 13.02 billion (2014)
OwnerREWE International AG
Number of employees
76,174 (2014)
Billa at Vienna airport
Billa flagship store in Vienna

BILLA (German pronunciation: [ˈbɪla] (About this soundlisten)) is an Austrian supermarket chain that operates in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe.[1] The company was founded by Karl Wlaschek in 1953. He sold his controlling interest to Germany's REWE Group in 1996.[2]


In 1953 Karl Wlaschek opened a discount perfume shop in the Vienna district of Margareten called WKW (Warenhandel Karl Wlaschek, translatable as Karl Wlaschek Trading). By 1960 WKW had 45 stores in Austria. In 1961 the chain was renamed Billa, a portmanteau of "billiger Laden", German for 'cheap shop',[3] started selling food and went over to self-service. In 1965 the company had grown to 109 stores. REWE Group acquired Billa in 1996.[4]

Present locations[edit]

Billa operates stores in six European countries:

Country No. of stores
 Austria 1,102
 Czech Republic 236
 Russia 172
 Slovakia 145
 Bulgaria 121
 Ukraine 35


Austria is the chain's home market. As of March 2019 Billa had 1,069 stores in the country, second only to SPAR's 1,538.

Czech Republic[edit]

The first Billa supermarket in the Czech Republic was opened in Stránského Street, Brno, on 26 October 1991. The company has 215 stores in the country and employs over 6,000 staff. Billa stores have an average sales area of 900 m2.[5]


Billa opened its first store in Slovakia in 1993.[6]


The company opened its first supermarket in Bulgaria in 2000 and has since then expanded to cover 38 Bulgarian cities, operating a total of 131 supermarkets as of June 2020.

In June 2006, the roof of one of the stores in Sofia collapsed during a storm. There were no injuries reported. There was an investigation to determine the reason for the poor quality of the construction work and whether the same problems are present at other Billa stores in the country, with 11 people eventually going to court.[7]


Billa supermarket in Moscow

The first Billa supermarket in Russia opened in 2004. There are now 151 Billa stores, mostly in Moscow and surrounding cities.[8]


On 3 February 2000 the first Billa store opened in Ukraine, located in Kiev. In 2020 there were 35 Billa supermarkets, of which 32 are in or around Kiev.[9][10]

Former locations[edit]

Billa operated in other countries in the past.

Country No. of stores Sold to Year sold
 Italy 136 Carrefour (53)

Conad (50)
others (33)

 Croatia 62 Spar 2016[14]
 Hungary 21 Spar 2002[15][16]
 Poland 14 E.Leclerc 2009[17]
 Romania 86 Carrefour 2015[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 30.05.2006, 00:00 (2006-05-30). "Unternehmen & Märkte « Archiv «". Retrieved 2015-09-23.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ "Rewe of Germany Buys Austrian Grocery Chain". New York Times. 18 July 1996. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  3. ^ "BILLA, sagt der Hausverstand". Retrieved 2015-09-23.
  4. ^ Jandrasits, Franz (1 June 2015). "Billa-Gründer Karl Wlaschek ist tot (Billa founder Karl Wlaschek is dead)". Kurier (in German). Vienna: Telekurier Online Medien GmbH & Co KG. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  5. ^ Billa homepage: "About us" (in Czech)
  6. ^ Billa homepage: "Who we are" (in Slovak)
  7. ^ "Стандарт - Новини, които си струва да споделим". 2013-03-22. Archived from the original on 2008-03-05. Retrieved 2015-09-23.
  8. ^ «Билла» открыла 151 магазин в России.
  9. ^ "Billa in Ukraine". (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  10. ^ (in Ukrainian) Novus buys Billa supermarket chain, Ukrayinska Pravda (16 September 2020)
  11. ^ "Rewe sells Billa supermarkets in Italy". Fresh Plaza. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  12. ^ "Carrefour buys 53 Billa supermarkets in Italy from Rewe". Reuters. 30 June 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  13. ^ "Rewe sells further Billa stores to Conad". IGD Retail Analysis. Institute of Grocery Distribution. 11 September 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  14. ^ Garaca, Maja (16 December 2016). "Spar Hrvatska acquires 62 Billa stores". SeeNews. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  15. ^ "SPAR acquires 13 Billa stores in Hungary". JustFood. 1 November 2002. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  16. ^ "Ungarische Billa-Märkte wurden an Spar verkauft". Wiener Zeitung (in German). 12 September 2002. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  17. ^ "Rewe Group sells supermarkets in Poland to E.Leclerc". FoodBev Media. 5 August 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  18. ^ "Romania: French Carrefour supermarket chain buys Billa Romania, owned by German Rewe group". New Europe. Associated Press. 22 December 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2020.

External links[edit]