Alnatura, another natural product and organic food chain, is planning a nationwide expansion.
The businesses are profitting from a continued and expanded interest in natural cosmetics as well as greater demand for natural and organic foods.
People with food allergies, such consumers who cannot tolerate gluten, and vegetarians and vegans are also fueling the expansion, according to Ullrich Kranzer, the Vitalia executive responsible for branch stores. The company has 88 stores nationwide.
Competitor Alnatura opened stores in Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Berlin and Hannover in the last few months and is planning stores for smaller cities in the coming months, including Aachen, Ravensburg, Karlsruhe and Ulm.
At least eight new stores are set to be opened by the year's end. Alnatura looked at taking over some of Schlecker's locations, but the stores were too small.
As of last year the nearly 2,400 natural food stores had sales of €2,2 billion – nearly a seven percent increase, according to the National Association of Natural Food and Products. Half of the higher earnings were due to increased sales and the other half resulted from higher prices, the association said.