“They pick up all the Steinhoff corpses”

Declining new construction, high interest rates and inflation as well as a general reluctance to buy are currently hitting the furniture trade hard. While bankruptcies are increasing in the industry and sales are dwindling, he sees himself Furniture company XXXLutz hardly affected by this. With the Insolvency of Kika/Leiner and halving its branch network, sales of 300 million euros were released, some of which ended up at XXXLutz, said Lutz spokesman and marketing boss Thomas Saliger.

The Wels furniture retailer has responded to the crisis and is now offering more affordable and smaller furniture. “New buildings are declining, but rents are rising. Living space is still needed. It’s not all gone, it’s just shifting,” said Saliger in an interview with the APA. Since rental apartments generally offer less living space than houses, smaller seating sets and cheaper kitchens are needed. “People don’t put a kitchen in a rented apartment for 20,000 euros,” says Saliger. We hear from the industry that kitchen studios in particular are suffering from this.

Highest sales losses in the furniture trade

XXXLutz wages an aggressive price war, advertises a lot and is broadly positioned with various sales lines (Möbelix, Mömax, XXXLutz) both stationary and online. The furniture trade was one of the sectors with the highest sales losses last year (-11.5 percent in real terms). In this environment, XXXLutz is said to have been one of the few in Austria to have achieved a small profit. The family-run company is economical with numbers. Without investments, the XXXLutz Group had sales of around 6 billion euros in 2023/24 and employed around 27,000 people.

Even without Andreas Seifert’s numerous furniture retailer investments, the XXXLutz Group has grown into the second largest furniture retailer in the world after Ikea in recent years with new locations and takeovers. “They are picking up all the Steinhoff bodies,” an insider told APA. The South African-German furniture group Steinhoff collapsed due to an accounting scandal, Andreas Seifert snapped up Poco, Conforama in France, Switzerland, Spain and Portugal as well as the Swiss discount furniture chain Lipo. He also acquired a stake in the French chain But.

The linchpin for XXXLutz and Andreas Seifert’s furniture retailer investments is the purchasing and service association Giga International. The purchasing group founded by XXXLutz in 2015 had external sales of 15 billion euros in 2021. More current figures are not available.

Mömax location on Mariahilfer Straße

XXXLutz recently achieved a coup with the takeover of Home24. With Home24, the Welsers have also taken over Butlers and are trying to integrate the household goods chain into XXXLutz branches in Germany and Austria. According to estimates, the furniture retailer generates between 10 and 15 percent of its sales online, depending on the sales line. According to Saliger, online business is now “an extremely important part”. “Today it is the showcase of every furniture store.”

Although Austria already has a dense network of furniture dealers, XXXLutz is still expanding here. In September, Ikea at Vienna’s Westbahnhof will face direct competition from a Mömax location on Mariahilfer Straße. A new Mömax is also planned for Linz.

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