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Zalando SE
TypeSocietas Europaea
DAX Component
ISINDE000ZAL1111 Edit this on Wikidata
FoundedOctober 2008; 14 years ago (2008-10)
FounderRobert Gentz, David Schneider
HeadquartersBerlin, Germany
Area served
Key people
Robert Gentz (Co-CEO)
David Schneider (Co-CEO)
Astrid Arndt (Chief People Officer)
Sandra Dembeck (Chief Financial Officer)
David Schröder (Chief Operating Officer)
ServicesOnline shopping
RevenueIncrease €10.35 billion (2021)[1]
Increase €424.7 million (2021)[2]
Increase €234.5 million (2021)[3]
Total assetsIncrease €6.897 billion (2021)[4]
Total equityIncrease €2.218 billion (2021)[5]
Number of employees
17,000 (2021)[7]
SubsidiariesZalon, Zalando Lounge GmbH, Zalando Payments GmbH, Zalando Marketing Services GmbH, Zalando Stores GmbH & Co. KG, Zalando Studios Berlin GmbH & Co. KG, Tradebyte Software GmbH, Anatwine Limited, Fision AG

Zalando SE is a publicly traded German online retailer of shoes, fashion and beauty active across Europe. The company was founded in 2008 by David Schneider and Robert Gentz and has more than 50 million active users in 25 European markets. Zalando is active in a variety of business fields - from multi-brand online shopping (including their own brands), the shopping club Zalando Lounge, outlets in 11 German cities, the consultation service Zalon, as well as logistics and marketing offers for retailers. With the program Connected Retail, Zalando connects more than 7,000 brick and mortar businesses to the online fashion platform. In 2021, Zalando generated revenue of 10.35 billion Euro, with roughly 17,000 employees.


Zalando was founded in 2008 by Robert Gentz and David Schneider in Berlin with investment capital from the three Samwer brothers. Gentz, Schneider and Oliver Samwer met each other through their studies at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management.

Inspired by US online retailer,[8] Zalando initially specialized in the sale of footwear.

In 2010, the company launched in the Netherlands and France and added apparel to its portfolio. In 2011, it opened online retail sites in the UK, Italy, and Switzerland. In the following year, Zalando expanded to Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Belgium, Spain, and Poland. In 2012, Zalando began operating outside of Germany offering deliveries to Austria.

Since 2013, following examples of tech companies from the East, especially China, Zalando transitioned into a European digital platform. Emulating Chinese companies, Zalando set off into remaking itself into a digital shopping mall, allowing fashion houses and retailers to make sales via the Partner Program as well, often with limited input from Zalando.[9]

In 2014, Zalando was listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.[10] Since 22 June 2015, Zalando has been included in the MDAX. In 2015, Zalando started collaborating with Topshop and began selling merchandise online. Advertisements featuring model Cara Delevingne were broadcast in Germany, Switzerland, and France.[11]

In June 2015, the fashion trade fair "Bread & Butter" was acquired by Zalando, with the intention to open the globally important event to a broader audience as a "fashion festival".[12] The first edition of "Bread & Butter by Zalando" took place in 2016, hosting 20,000 visitors at Arena Berlin. Zalando announced the discontinuation of "Bread & Butter" due to a shift in strategy two years later.[13]

In March 2017, Zalando acquired Kickz, a German company, for an unknown sum. At the time, Kickz owned 15 shops across Germany, all specializing in basketball footwear.[14]

In 2018, Zalando launched Beauty in Germany, Poland, and Austria and opened a beauty concept store in Berlin offering a regularly changing range of beauty products.[15]

In February 2018, Zalando expanded its collaboration with physical retailers in Germany.[16]

In June 2018, Zalando expanded its operations to Ireland and the Czech Republic. The markets are served over the existing logistic sites of Zalando.[17]

In October 2020, a general works council with 31 members was elected for the first time in history, with its first meeting on 11 November 2020.[18][19]

In December 2020, co-CEO Rubin Ritter announced that he would be stepping down next year, two years before the end of his contract, to allow his wife to pursue her professional ambitions.[20]

In June 2021, the company announced that it would give all of its 14,500 workers an extra 5 days off work in August, in recognition of their work throughout the coronavirus pandemic.[21]

In September 2021, the DAX was expanded to 40 companies, with Zalando becoming part of the DAX.

In November 2022, Zalando discontinued its standalone resale app, Zircle. The pre-owned category on its platform will continue to allow customers to sell and buy second-hand fashion from each other.[22]

Geographical presence[edit]

Countries in which Zalando operates

The company operates in the following countries: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Slovenia, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary and Romania.[23]

Employee coach of the Zalando warehouse in Głuchów (a village in central Poland), every day transporting employees from Tomaszów Mazowiecki, 35 km away

United Kingdom[edit]

In 2011, Zalando launched, thereby offering its retail services to UK customers. Deliveries were operated by YODEL. In the same year, the E-commerce platform launched a TV ad in English, replicating the humorous format used in its German-language commercials. In it, a long-suffering husband bemoans his wife's addiction to buying shoes and warns other men about the dangers of introducing women to Zalando.

In 2015, Zalando acquired a 20% stake[24] in Cheltenham-based software company Anatwine, headed by a former e-commerce director of SuperGroup, for a seven-figure sum. Anatwine's software – which helps online fashion retailers and brands integrate their processes, systems, and stock files – will enable current and future clothing and accessory brand clients to use Anatwine's technology to sell their merchandise through Zalando. Zalando is expected to speedily widen Anatwine's range of brands.[25]

Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)[edit]

On 2 June 2021, Zalando launched its new online platform in Slovenia, Lithuania, and Slovakia. The company was said to be targeting a bigger stake in the European fashion market.[26]

"For us, the launch of our platform in the three countries is a major step toward being the starting point for Fashion in Europe and opening up the Zalando universe to even more customers", Lisa Miczaika, Zalando's vice president for Central Europe said.

Zalando expanded to Croatia, Estonia, and Latvia in 2021, and to Hungary and Romania in 2022.[26][27]

IT-Centre Lake Phoenix Dortmund

Business figures[edit]

Zalando was accumulating losses ever since it was founded until it started making a profit in 2014. The most important cost factors for Zalando are fulfilment and marketing costs, both taking up 50% of total revenues alone without the costs of sales included, with marketing costs as high as 25% in 2010.[28] Zalando managed to become profitable for the first time in 2014, which was due to cost management and sales in their additional markets. Almost 50% of sales revenues are generated in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland which is defined as one geographic unit under "DACH".

In 2021, the company was said to be targeting a gross merchandise volume (GMV) of over €30bn by 2025, and in the long term wants to take more than 10% of the €450bn European fashion market.[26]

Year Revenue (bn. euro) Profit/loss in bn. euro Revenue growth EBIT margin
2010[29][30] 0.150 −0.020 −13.5%
2011 0.510 −0.060 240% −11.8%
2012 1.150 −0.090 125% −7.8%
2013[31][32] 1.800 −0.120 56% −6.3%
2014[33] 2.200 0.082 26% 3.7%
2015[34] 2.958 0.107 33.6% 3.6%
2016[35] 3.639 0.216 23% 5.9%
2017[36] 4.489 0.215 23.4% 4.8%
2018[37] 5.387 0.173 20.0% 3.2%
2019[38] 6.483 0.225 20.3% 3.5%
2020[39] 7.982 0.421 23.1% 5.3%


The German newspaper Bild reported on statements of the German Federal Economic Ministry indicating that from 2007 to 2012 Zalando received around 3.3 million euro in subsidies from regional development programs. Zalando also requested subsidies for 2013. The Deutsche Mittelstandsnachrichten reported that the Samwer brothers’ business model is predicated on using foreign capital and cheap labour to quickly build up a company, selling it as fast as possible.

In July 2012, German TV channel ZDF broadcast a report on the packing and distribution centre operated for Zalando by a provider near Berlin.[40] The report showed the appalling working conditions at the company providing logistical services to Zalando. In the logistical center of Großbeeren certain staff, who often commute more than 200 km per day from nearby Poland, are not allowed to sit down during their working day.[41] It was further shown that employees were subject to continuous scrutiny, work space was extremely confined, and for several hundreds of employees there was only one filthy toilet container. The ZDF also criticized the hourly wage of €7,01, which was nonetheless in conformity with the minimum hourly wages for agency workers in Germany. Following the ZDF report, it was revealed that Zalando had also received a 22,5 million euro subsidy from the government of Thüringen to build new headquarters. According to a ZDF reporter who went undercover, around 40 employees are being paid by the taxpayer between seven and nine days every month in the framework of apprenticeship programs, while one-third of the employees are agency workers. Following the report, Zalando announced that it would scrutinize its service providers more strictly.

In April 2014, RTL broadcast the documentary Unrelenting pressure in the workplace (Arbeiten unter Dauerdruck), which had been made with the support of undercover journalist Günter Wallraff.[42] The documentary led to renewed criticism on the labour conditions at Zalando. Journalist Caro Lobig worked undercover for three months as an order picker in the logistical center at Erfurt. During an eight-hour shift she had to walk up to 27 kilometres (17 mi). After five weeks she started to suffer from circulation problems. According to an anonymous employee working at the ambulance service, there is hardly a day when they are not called to the logistics center. According to a labour judge interviewed by RTL, Zalando violates German Labour law because of its rules on breaks, by prohibiting its employees from sitting down and by imposing airport-security-type measures on its employees. Through its tight control over its employees, Zalando would also be in violation of privacy rules. RTL requested Zalando to give comments to the allegations but Zalando refused.[43] Instead, Zalando filed a complaint against Lobig for revealing corporate secrets. Lobig in turn filed a complaint against the company regarding her severance pay.[44]

In November 2015, the Centre for Protection against Unfair Competition in Germany filed a suit claiming that Zalando misled consumers on the availability of certain products suggesting that they needed to act fast to buy them. Zalando said that they had already changed their marketing practices, taking the centre's concerns into account. They claimed that they no longer informed consumers that there were "three items available" when more than three were available.[45]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Zalando on track with 2025 growth plan fueled by strong customer growth in 2021".
  2. ^ "Zalando Annual Report 2021" (PDF).
  3. ^ "Zalando Annual Report 2021" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Zalando Annual Report 2021" (PDF).
  5. ^ "Zalando Annual Report 2021" (PDF).
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Shareholder Structure". Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  7. ^ "Zalando Annual Report 2021" (PDF).
  8. ^ Bloomberg Businessweek; 3 May 2012, Issue 4269, p74-80, 6p, 5 Color Photographs
  9. ^ Scott, Mark (16 December 2016). "In Shadow of Amazon, European Challenger Looks to China for Inspiration". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Zalando to Raise Up to $815 Million in German E-Commerce IPO Retrieved on 31 January 2015
  11. ^ Saramowicz, Caroline (14 April 2015). "Another Day, Another Cara Delevingne Campaign! Model Fronts Topshop's Zalando Campaign". Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  12. ^ Zalando kauft Berliner Modemesse Bread & Butter (German), Berliner Zeitung, 8 June 2015
  13. ^ Whelan, Grace (28 November 2018). "Bread & Butter cancelled for 2019". Drapers. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  14. ^ Thomasson, Emma (1 March 2017). "Zalando buys streetwear retailer Kickz, outlook dents shares". Reuters. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  15. ^ "Zalando profits fall as it launches beauty offer". Retail Week. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Zalando expands collaboration with German retailers". RetailDetail. 16 February 2018. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  17. ^ "Zalando to Launch in Ireland and Czech Republic". Zalando Corporate Website. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  18. ^ "Zalando SE Works Council". EWC DATABASE (European Works Council). Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  19. ^ "Zalando-Mitarbeiter haben erstmals Gesamtbetriebsrat gewählt". Gründerszene Magazin (in German). 30 October 2020. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  20. ^ Sherisse Pham (7 December 2020). "Zalando co-CEO Rubin Ritter quits so his wife can pursue her career". CNN. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  21. ^ Darmody, Jenny (4 June 2021). "Zalando to give staff a 'collective break' with an extra week off". Silicon Republic. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  22. ^ Russell, Michelle (25 November 2022). "Zalando discontinues Zircle secondhand fashion platform". JustStyle.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. ^ "Zalando SE (ZAL.DE) Company Profile & Facts - Yahoo Finance". Retrieved 2 May 2023.
  24. ^ "Anatwine | Successes Since Pairing With Zalando". Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  25. ^ [1] Archived 27 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 22 May 2015
  26. ^ a b c "Online fashion retailer Zalando launches platforms in Slovenia, Slovakia and Lithuania". 2 June 2021. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  27. ^ "Expanding to the new Central and Eastern Europe Zalando markets". Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  28. ^ Year report Zalando 2012
  29. ^ "Für Umsatzrekord zahlt Zalando einen hohen Preis". Die Welt (Online) (in German). 15 February 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  30. ^ Max Wilken (20 February 2012). "Zalando macht Miese trotz Umsatzexplosion". (in German). Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  31. ^ Zalado's year report of 2013
  32. ^ Jonas Rest (16 February 2014). "Online Modehandel Zalando: Zalando macht sich fit für die Börse". (in German). Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  33. ^ "Zalando erzielt Jahresgewinn nach starkem vierten Quartal" (in German). 11 February 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  34. ^ "ZALANDO CONTINUES ON HIGH GROWTH PATH" (in German). 1 March 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  35. ^ "ZALANDO CONTINUES ON HIGH GROWTH PATH" (in German). 1 March 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  36. ^ "ZALANDO ADVANCES ON GROWTH COURSE" (in German). 1 March 2018. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  37. ^ "ANNUAL REPORT 2018 Key Figures 2018" (in German). 28 February 2018. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  38. ^ "ANNUAL REPORT 2019 Key Figures 2019" (in German). 28 February 2020. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  39. ^ "ANNUAL REPORT 2020 Key Figures 2020". Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  40. ^ Nach heftiger Kritik: Zalando-Partner reagiert Archived 7 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine, FashionUnited 2 August 2012.
  41. ^ "ZDF-Zoom: Im Zalando-Lager ist den Arbeitern Sitzen verboten -".
  42. ^ digital, La revue du (22 April 2014). "Zalando sur la sellette à cause des conditions de travail dans son plus gros entrepôt". La Revue du Digital (in French). Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  43. ^ "Startseite - Zalando Corporate Website".
  44. ^ Lukas Bay, Martin Dowideit (15 April 2014). "Zalando geht juristisch gegen RTL-Journalistin vor". (in German). Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  45. ^ Thomasson, Emma (5 November 2015). "German private-sector watchdog accuses Zalando of false advertising". Reuters. Retrieved 5 November 2015.

External links[edit]

Media related to Zalando at Wikimedia Commons