History


Retail in motion - since 1925.

At EK, change is a tradition. We have been in existence for almost 100 years, and we have always been at the forefront of taking on new challenges.

Since our earliest days in 1925, when three retailers in Germany founded the Westfalen-Lippe-Einkaufsverband EWELI (Westphalia-Lippe Purchasing Association), to the founding of EK Großeinkauf in 1972, to our subsidiaries EK Austria, founded in 1991 and EK France, founded in 1997, to our repositioning as the EK/servicegroup in 2005 and our takeover of the long-standing Dutch retail services organisation Euretco in 2015, change has been a constant.

We have continued to grow organically under our umbrella brand, EK/servicegroup. However, mergers and takeovers of other associations have also accelerated the expansion of our corporate platform. Tapping into new markets and target audiences, and adapting our organisational structures, recently led to the realignment of our business model to focus on six strategic business areas: EK Home, EK Fashion, EK Living, EK DIY, EK Sport and EK Books.

And the development continues. Since early 2022, we have been combining forces in Europe under the joint brand EK, with the goal of inspiring local trade and supporting that trade so that it can enrich peoples’ lives both now and in the future.

2022 – Launch of the new EK umbrella brand
The EK/servicegroup and its European subsidiaries EK Austria, EK France, and Euretco, form under the newly created umbrella brand EK, in order to reinforce and expand the market position of the entire group.

2019 EK presents its online marketplaces www.compravo.de
EK opens its cross-industry marketplace www.compravo.de, where retail partners with the product ranges of Living, Household Goods, Electronics, Toys and Baby items can present their services.

2015 EK develops with Euretco to become a European corporate platform
By acquiring leading Dutch cross-sector buying association Euretco, EK develops into a corporate platform for around 4,000 retail partners, with revenues of roughly 2.2 billion EUR. A German buying association with only about 10% international revenues is transformed into an international buying association with approx. 50% international revenues.

2005 – EK Großeinkauf becomes the EK/servicegroup
The company takes on a new name and a new mission with a clear focus on the purpose of all of its activities: optimising value creation for retail partners. The claim of the EK/servicegroup points the way to the future: Inspiring retail!

1997 Founding of EK Austria
EK further expands its presence in Europe and founds EK Austria, a new subsidiary in Austria.

1991 – Founding of EK France
The ALLIANCE CERAMIQUE halts its activities in France. Its member companies then join the newly founded EK France.

1972 – Stronger together
The history of EK is the history of mergers. EWELI-KERAMIK, RHEINWEST and ROTE ERDE combine to form EK Großeinkauf.

1925 – Founding
Three retailers from Westphalia (Germany) decide to collaborate to make joint purchases. None of these progressive minds has any idea they are laying the foundations for one of Europe's largest cross-industry buying associations today.