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KiK Textilien und Non-Food GmbH
FoundedApril 1994
FounderStefan Heinig, Tengelmann Group
Bönen, Germany
Area served
Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Poland, Netherlands, Italy, Romania
Key people
Patrick Zahn, CEO
ProductsClothing and Non-Food products
Revenue 1.95 (2016) billion
Number of employees

KiK, legally KiK Textilien und Non-Food GmbH, is a German textile discount store chain headquartered in Bönen.


KiK in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland

KiK was founded in 1994 by Stefan Heinig and the holding company Tengelmann Group.[1] KiK is an acronym for "Kunde ist König" (English: The customer is king).[2]

KiK is the largest textile discounter chain in Germany and operates about 3,500 stores in Germany, Austria (since 1998), Slovenia and Czech Republic (since 2007), Hungary and Slovakia (since 2008), Croatia (since 2011), Poland (since March 2012), and Netherlands (2013).[3] In 2017, KiK opened the first stores in Italy, and in 2018, in Romania.[4] KiK-CEO Patrick Zahn has announced to enter the US market beginning in 2019. The first stores will be opened in the Midwest.

The company employs 25,000 employees, of which the bulk share works in Germany. In 2016, the company had net revenues of €1.95 billion, making it the sixth largest textile manufacturer in Germany.

Starting in 2013, the company has undertaken a large modernization offensive in all its stores. By the end of 2017, all stores in Germany as well as in the foreign markets will be based on a new interior concept, making them look brighter and more pleasant. The dominant color red will be largely substituted by silver.[5]

The company sells a range of women's, men's and children's clothing, baby wear and underwear, as well as toys, accessories and home textiles. Customers can buy a complete outfit for less than 30 Euros. The focus is on basic styles with only occasional changes in its assortment. This makes the company independent of trends and seasons. The orders can be produced with long lead times form nine to 12 month without time pressure. KiK buys its products from around 500 suppliers in Bangladesh, China, Pakistan and Turkey, with Bangladesh the biggest contributor, accounting for over 40% of the orders. The products are imported to Germany on the basis of sea freight and hence distributed to the nine foreign markets KiK is operating in.

KiK has been a member of the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles since June 2015. This initiative by the German Ministry for Development and Cooperation, which is funded by commercial enterprises, non-governmental organizations, federal organizations and trade unions, is based on the belief that an improvement to manufacturing conditions in countries like Bangladesh or Pakistan cannot be brought about by individual companies alone.[6]

Online Shop[edit]

Since 2013 KiK operates an Online Shop.


KiK has, in the past, sponsored a number of football teams, namely Arminia Bielefeld, Werder Bremen, Hansa Rostock and VfL Bochum.[7] They currently sponsor referees of the Austrian Football Bundesliga and in January 2009 also sponsored the German national team at the 2009 World Men's Handball Championship.[8]

Verona Pooth has been the face of KiK's television advertising campaign.[9] The cooperation ended in 2015.


The company has published four sustainability reports.

In October 2015, KiK banned plastic sacs from all its shops in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Hungary. Through this measure, the company saves about 33 million plastic sacs per year.[10]

KiK is a member of the German government's Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, a multi-stakeholder initiative to bring about social, ecological and economic improvements along the textile supply chain. KiK is among more than 150 members including Otto Group, Adidas, Hugo Boss and Puma and is engaged in all the initiative's working groups. It was among the first members of the Partnership to publish its catalogue of measures designed to provide greater transparency to consumers for products sold in Germany.[11]

The retailer is the first company in Germany with a contract in place which holds auditing companies legally liable for findings in the reports.


Building collapse at Savar[edit]

On 24 April 2013, the eight-story Rana Plaza commercial building collapsed in Savar, a sub-district near Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. At least 1,127 people died and over 2,438 were injured.[12] The factory housed a number of separate garment factories employing around 5,000 people,[13] and manufactured apparel for brands including the Benetton Group, Joe Fresh,[14] The Children's Place, Primark, Monsoon, and DressBarn.[15][16] Of the 29 brands identified as having sourced products from the Rana Plaza factories, only 9 attended meetings held in November 2013 to agree a proposal on compensation to the victims. KiK was the second German company to contribute to the compensation fund. Several companies refused to sign including Walmart, Carrefour, Bonmarché, Mango, Auchan. The agreement was also signed by Primark, Loblaws, Bonmarché and El Corte Inglés.[17]

The retailer was one of the first German signatories of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh set up in May 2013 to inspect and remediate factories for fire, electrical and building safety, and was also among a group of global union federations and brands that have prepared the continuation of the work of the Accord in Bangladesh once its five-year remit comes to an end in 2018.[18]

Swastika-styled clothing racks[edit]

KiK's swastika-styled clothing racks

In 2009, a man from the German state Schleswig-Holstein pressed charges against KiK under Strafgesetzbuch § 86a, which outlaws the "use of symbols of unconstitutional organisations", for the chain using swastika-styled clothing racks in their shops.[19] KiK describes the allegations as incomprehensible.[20]

Wages for factory workers[edit]

KiK have been criticised by the Clean Clothes Campaign for their bad practices in countries such as Bangladesh, where factory workers are paid low wages.[21] In 2006, KiK has published a Code of Conduct, which imposes an obligation to suppliers to pay a compensation to workers that covers at least the legal or the industrial minimum wage level, whichever is higher.[22] KiK CEO Zahn has appealed on the government of Bangladesh to raise the minimum wage by ten percent.

Secret credit ratings of staff[edit]

While running almost 50,000 secret credit ratings of staff,[23] overtime is often not paid.[24] With the introduction of the legal minimum wage in Germany, KiK pays its staff minimum wage or higher.


  1. ^ "Tengelmann-Chef gelobt Besserung bei Kik". Die Welt (in German). 26 August 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  2. ^ "Qualität – KiK Textilien und Non-Food GmbH" (in German). Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  3. ^ "KiK erschließt weiteren Absatzmarkt". Tengelmann Group (in German). 15 March 2012. Archived from the original on July 31, 2012.
  4. ^ "KiK in Romania" (in Romanian). 9 November 2018.
  5. ^ "KiK-Projekt KiK17". KiK (in German). Archived from the original on 28 August 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  6. ^ "KiK und Aldi treten Textilbündnis bei". Tagesspiegel (in German). Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Bochum mit KiK auf der Brust". Focus (in German). 28 June 2007. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  8. ^ Seele, Rainer (18 January 2009). "Alles, nur nicht Beate Uhse". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  9. ^ Simon, Violetta (17 April 2009). "Pooth wirbt für Kik – Verona im Ausverkauf". Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  10. ^ "KiK schafft die Plastiktüten ab". KiK (in German). 3 July 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  11. ^ "KiK und Aldi treten Textilbündnis bei". Tagesspiegel (in German). Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  12. ^ Ahmed, Saeed; Lakhani, Leone (14 June 2013). "Bangladesh building collapse: An end to recovery efforts, a promise of a new start". CNN. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  13. ^ Zain Al-Mahmood, Syed (24 April 2013). "Matalan supplier among manufacturers in Bangladesh building collapse". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  14. ^ "'Extreme Pricing' At What Cost? Retailer Joe Fresh Sends Reps To Bangladesh As Death Toll Rises". Forbes. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014.
  15. ^ Nelson, Dean (24 April 2013). "Bangladesh building collapse kills at least 82 in Dhaka". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  16. ^ Alam, Julhas (24 April 2013). "At least 87 dead in Bangladesh building collapse". USA Today. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  17. ^ Ovi, Ibrahim Hossain (17 November 2013). "Buyers' compensation for Rana Plaza victims far from reality". Dhaka Tribune. Archived from the original on 25 March 2016. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  18. ^ "The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety". Bangladesh Accord. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  19. ^ Stahl, Volker (22 January 2009). "Große Aufregung um "Hakenkreuz-Ständer"". Hamburger Morgenpost (in German). Archived from the original on 1 March 2009. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  20. ^ "Hakenkreuze beim Discounter?". (in German). 12 December 2008. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  21. ^ "KiK-Betriebsratswahl als "Farce": Nur Assistent des Chefs wählbar". Die Presse (in German). 13 March 2007. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  22. ^ "Code of Conduct". KiK. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Kik wieder im Kreuzfeuer der Kritik". Der Standard (in German). 25 September 2009. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  24. ^ "Firmenprofil: KiK". Clean Clothes Campaign (in German). Archived from the original on 18 February 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2010.

External links[edit]