Brenninkmeijer family

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Brenninkmeijer (German: Brenninkmeyer) is a German-Dutch family. Two members of the Brenninkmeyer family founded C&A, an international chain of clothing stores. Today, the family owns the Cofra Holding AG, which in turn controls the C&A fashion business, a private equity company, a real estate fund and two banks. Across their businesses, the Brenninkmeyers employ more than 80,000 people worldwide.

A carefully designed rulebook ensures that Brenninkmeyer sons and daughters enter the business in leadership positions at an early age, guaranteeing that the company is fully controlled by the family.[1]


In 1841, the brothers Clemens and August Brenninkmeyer founded the textile shop C&A, which sold, unusually for that time, ready made clothes. The two brothers, peddlers originally from the small village Mettingen in Westphalia,[2] traveled each year to Friesland to sell their textiles to farmers. In 1861, they stocked their goods in a warehouse in Sneek.[2] This small town in the north of the Netherlands became the location of their first store.[3] A branch was opened in Leeuwarden. In 1906, Clemens' son, Bernard Joseph, started discounting in Amsterdam (Rekenen in Centen, in plaats van Procenten) and by 1910 there were ten stores in the Netherlands. In 1911, the company opened the first German store in Berlin and today there are more than 400 stores in Germany. In 1922, the company started a store in Great Britain.[2] Today C&A and other related companies are located in 16 countries throughout the world. These companies are linked through the COFRA group, based in Zug, Switzerland. The company closed its stores in the United Kingdom and Denmark in 2000. Recently, many new countries have been entered in Eastern Europe and the company has also opened stores in China. More recently, the company has focused its efforts on real estate and financial services. C&A Online launched in Germany in 2008.

For a period of time Eastern Mountain Sports, Steinbach, Ohrbach's, Maurices, Miller's Outpost and others were owned through the American Retail Group.[4] In the 1980s and 1990s, they owned the Comark group in Canada, which included Bretton's department stores, Clark Shoes and Collacut luggage stores.[5] The Canadian operations were sold in 2005 to KarpReilly, LLC of Greenwich, Connecticut.[6]


In addition to textile retailer C&A, the Brenninkmeyers own and control several companies in the private equity, real estate and financial services industries.[7]

Cofra Holding AG (100% owned by family[8])
Fashion retail Real estate Private equity Financial services
C&A Redevco Bregal Investments
Entrepreneurs Fund
Banco Ibi
more than
10 bn. Euro

7 bn. Euro

8 bn. Euro
unknown value

Notable members[edit]

Joseph Brenninkmeijer, the son of Clemens (C of C&A), is considered to be the father of the C&A formula. In 1906 he repositioned the company which was the first step towards future years of exceptional successes. In his store in Amsterdam, he was one of the world's first discounters. Instead of using a customary "keystone" gross margin of 50% he only asked for 25% or less. His insight: "you could cut your profit mark-up dramatically. Even with much a lower margin, the far greater volume of sales would still boost the bottom line profit. This major innovation has had a great impact on people's thinking within all C&A companies even to this very day."[9]

One member of the family, Albert Brenninkmeyer (born 1974), married Princess Carolina of Bourbon-Parma, a cousin of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, on 21 April 2012 in Wijk bij Duurstede.[10]

From 1988 to 2011, Mother Theresa Brenninkmeyer was the prioress, later abbess, of a convent in Denmark.[11]

Two family members have entered show business, producer Stephan Brenninkmeijer and actor Philippe Brenninkmeyer.


  1. ^ "ZEIT ONLINE | Lesen Sie mit Werbung oder im PUR-Abo. Sie haben die Wahl".
  2. ^ a b c [1] Archived March 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Fries Scheepvaartmuseum - Zoeken in de collectie". Archived from the original on 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2016-01-03.
  4. ^ [2] Archived June 3, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ The Globe and Mail, "Meet the Green Family", 10 September 2008, p.B1
  6. ^ "Comark Inc". Retrieved 2016-01-03.
  7. ^ George L. Brenninkmeijer. "Brenninkmeijer Holding GmbH". Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  8. ^ "Rezeptprüfer: C&A-Familie baut Marktposition im Retaxbereich aus". 2016-03-18. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  9. ^ Vier Generaties Snekerkring, 2006, Surrey Beheermaatschappij
  10. ^ "Prinses Carolina getrouwd met C&A-telg|Binnenland". Retrieved 2016-01-03.
  11. ^ "Hvad skete der egentlig på Sostrup Kloster? | Kristeligt Dagblad". (in Danish). Retrieved 2016-01-03.

External links[edit]