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Zalando SE
TypeSocietas Europaea
DAX Component
FoundedOctober 2008; 13 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)
David Schröder (Chief Financial Officer)
Jim Freeman (Chief Business & Product Officer)
ServicesOnline shopping
RevenueIncrease €7.982 billion (2020)[1]
Increase €367.0 million (2020)
Increase €234.4 million (2020)
Total assetsIncrease €6.495 billion (2020)[2]
Total equityIncrease €2.151 billion (2020)
Number of employees
16,000 (2021)
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 German multi national E-commerce company based in Berlin, Germany. The headquarters are located in Berlin and it also has offices (tech hubs) in Dublin, Ireland, Dortmund, Germany and Helsinki, Finland. The company follows a platform approach, offering fashion and lifestyle products to customers in 23 European markets. Zalando was founded in Germany in 2008.


Zalando was founded in 2008 by Rocket Internet, Robert Gentz and David Schneider, initially under the name Ifansho.[5] The name was then changed to Zalando, a reference to the Italian word zalare (meaning "making jokes").

Inspired by US online retailer,[6] 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 changed 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.[7]

In 2014 Zalando was listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.[8] 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 the model Cara Delevingne were broadcast in Germany, Switzerland and France.[9]

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".[10] 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.[11]

In March 2017, Zalando acquired Kickz, a German company, for an unknown sum. At the time, Kickz owned 15 shops across Germany, all specialized in basketball footwear.[12]

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.[13]

In February 2018, Zalando expanded its collaboration with physical retailers in Germany.[14]

In June 2018, Zalando expanded its operations to Ireland and the Czech Republic. The markets are served over the existing logistic sites of Zalando.[15]

In October 2020, a general works council with 31 members was elected for the first time in history, with a first meeting on November 11, 2020.[16][17]

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.[18]

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.[19]

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, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

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[20] 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.[21]

Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)[edit]

On June 2, 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.[22]

“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 will further expand to Croatia, Estonia and Latvia this year, and Hungary and Romania in 2022.[22]

IT-Centre Lake Phoenix Dortmund

Business figures[edit]

Zalando was accumulating losses ever since it was founded until it started making profit in 2014. The most important cost factors for Zalando are fulfilment costs 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.[23] 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 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.[22]

Year Revenue (bn. Euro) Profit/Loss in bn. Euro Revenue growth EBIT margin
2010[24][25] 0.150 −0.020 −13.5%
2011 0.510 −0.060 240% −11.8%
2012 1.150 −0.090 125% −7.8%
2013[26][27] 1.800 −0.120 56% −6.3%
2014[28] 2.200 0.082 26% 3.7%
2015[29] 2.958 0.107 33.6% 3.6%
2016[30] 3.639 0.216 23% 5.9%
2017[31] 4.489 0.215 23.4% 4.8%
2018[32] 5.387 0.173 20.0% 3.2%
2019[33] 6.483 0.225 20.3% 3.5%
2020[34] 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.[35] 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.[36] It was further shown that employees were subject to continuous scrutiny, workspace 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.[37] 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.[38] Instead, Zalando filed a complaint against Lobig for revealing corporate secrets. Lobig in turn filed a complaint against the company regarding her severance pay.[39]

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.[40]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income 2020".
  2. ^ "Consolidated Statement of Financial Position 2020".
  3. ^ a b "Shareholder Structure". Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c "Shareholder Structure | Zalando Corporate".
  5. ^ Jaffé, Diana; Riedel, Saskia (December 8, 2010). Werbung f8r Adam und Eva: Zielgruppengerechte Ansprache durch Gender Marketing Communication. Wiley-VCH. p. 215. ISBN 978-3-527-50549-4. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  6. ^ Bloomberg Businessweek; 3/5/2012, Issue 4269, p74-80, 6p, 5 Color Photographs
  7. ^ Scott, Mark (December 16, 2016). "In Shadow of Amazon, European Challenger Looks to China for Inspiration". The New York Times.
  8. ^ Zalando to Raise Up to $815 Million in German E-Commerce IPO Retrieved on 31 January 2015
  9. ^ Saramowicz, Caroline (April 14, 2015). "Another Day, Another Cara Delevingne Campaign! Model Fronts Topshop's Zalando Campaign". Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  10. ^ Zalando kauft Berliner Modemesse Bread & Butter (German), Berliner Zeitung, 8 June 2015
  11. ^ Whelan, Grace (November 28, 2018). "Bread & Butter cancelled for 2019". Drapers. Retrieved November 3, 2020.
  12. ^ Thomasson, Emma (March 1, 2017). "Zalando buys streetwear retailer Kickz, outlook dents shares". Reuters. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  13. ^ "Zalando profits fall as it launches beauty offer". Retail Week. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  14. ^ "Zalando expands collaboration with German retailers". RetailDetail. February 16, 2018. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  15. ^ "Zalando to Launch in Ireland and Czech Republic". Zalando Corporate Website. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  16. ^ "Zalando SE Works Council". EWC DATABASE (European Works Council). Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  17. ^ "Zalando-Mitarbeiter haben erstmals Gesamtbetriebsrat gewählt". Gründerszene Magazin (in German). October 30, 2020. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  18. ^ Sherisse Pham. "Zalando co-CEO Rubin Ritter quits so his wife can pursue her career". CNN. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  19. ^ Darmody, Jenny (June 4, 2021). "Zalando to give staff a 'collective break' with an extra week off". Silicon Republic. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
  20. ^ "Anatwine | Successes Since Pairing With Zalando". (in British English). Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  21. ^ [1] Archived May 27, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 22 May 2015
  22. ^ a b c "Online fashion retailer Zalando launches platforms in Slovenia, Slovakia and Lithuania". June 2, 2021. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
  23. ^ Year report Zalando 2012
  24. ^ "Für Umsatzrekord zahlt Zalando einen hohen Preis". Die Welt (Online) (in German). February 15, 2013. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  25. ^ Max Wilken (February 20, 2012). "Zalando macht Miese trotz Umsatzexplosion". (in German). Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  26. ^ Zalado's year report of 2013
  27. ^ Jonas Rest (February 16, 2014). "Online Modehandel Zalando: Zalando macht sich fit für die Börse". (in German). Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  28. ^ "Zalando erzielt Jahresgewinn nach starkem vierten Quartal" (in German). February 11, 2015. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  29. ^ "ZALANDO CONTINUES ON HIGH GROWTH PATH" (in German). March 1, 2016. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  30. ^ "ZALANDO CONTINUES ON HIGH GROWTH PATH" (in German). March 1, 2016. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
  31. ^ "ZALANDO ADVANCES ON GROWTH COURSE" (in German). March 1, 2018. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  32. ^ "ANNUAL REPORT 2018 Key Figures 2018" (in German). February 28, 2018. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  33. ^ "ANNUAL REPORT 2019 Key Figures 2019" (in German). February 28, 2020. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  34. ^ "ANNUAL REPORT 2020 Key Figures 2020". Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  35. ^ Nach heftiger Kritik: Zalando-Partner reagiert Archived July 7, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, FashionUnited 02 August 2012.
  36. ^ "ZDF-Zoom: Im Zalando-Lager ist den Arbeitern Sitzen verboten -".
  37. ^ digital, La revue du (April 22, 2014). "Zalando sur la sellette à cause des conditions de travail dans son plus gros entrepôt". La Revue du Digital (in fr-FR). Retrieved November 10, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  38. ^ "Startseite - Zalando Corporate Website".
  39. ^ Lukas Bay, Martin Dowideit (April 15, 2014). "Zalando geht juristisch gegen RTL-Journalistin vor". (in German). Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  40. ^ Thomasson, Emma (November 5, 2015). "German private-sector watchdog accuses Zalando of false advertising". Reuters. Retrieved November 5, 2015.

External links[edit]

Media related to Zalando at Wikimedia Commons