In conversation with Gesa Oetken, Management Purchasing & Sales

The northern German entrepreneurial family Oetken and the design & shopfitting company Schweitzer have been linked by a trusting partnership for various years.

Gesa Oetken, junior manager and daughter of the current managing director Bernd Oetken, shares her visions for Inkoop Verbrauchermärkte GmbH in an interview.


Ms Oetken, you have been Sales Manager since 2019 and will take over the position of Managing Director from your father in the future.

What are your plans for the future of your company?


My goal is to be the focal point in our region for our customers and our employees, as well as the daily contact point for everything to do with good, high-quality food. We are continuously working on improving and being pioneers in shopfitting, design and last but not least, in the quality and depth of the assortments.

Currently, many retail companies are suffering from acute staff shortages. How do you tackle this challenge?


Fortunately, the situation has eased somewhat in recent months, but we also felt the strain. However, we are very active in recruiting throughout the year and train new employees all the time, from scratch. It is definitely difficult to find fully trained professionals, so it is worth investing in the training of young people as well as career changers.

What role does the increasing digitalization in retail play in your company?


Costs have intensified a lot in the last two years. Digitalization has given us the opportunity to significantly streamline processes and make them more efficient - it therefore plays a fundamental role in the further development of Inkoop.


To date, Inkoop has redesigned and rebuilt 6 hypermarkets with the design & shopfitting company Schweitzer.

What do you appreciate about this cooperation?


From the first appointment to the final handover of the shop, we can rely on the expertise and availability of the designers from Interstore and the shopfitters from Schweitzer for every project. The fact that all services come from a single source makes all work processes easier and faster. Our partners understand our visions and enrich them with their experience and creative ideas. Even changes in the during the ongoing process are no problem and are implemented quickly and efficiently - this flexibility represents significant added value for us.

Have you seen an increase in sales after the refurbishment?


We have seen an increase in sales of at least 50% in all remodeled shops so far, but the spaces have also been expanded and a totally new shopping experience has been developed, which has always appealed positively to our customers so far. In the past, our shops were small and dark with flat ceilings, the changes after a refurbishment are enormous and definitely worthwhile.

Schweitzer's sister company, the retail design agency Interstore, takes the creative lead in all projects in close consultation with our clients.
Did you feel involved in the design process?


Absolutely. The collaboration has been very pleasant on every project. The designers always had an open ear for our wishes and ideas. In the end, what we wanted always counted and was always implemented to our complete satisfaction.