The Douglas Group
all began with John Sharp Douglas seeking his fortune. Nearly 200
years ago the Scot emigrated to Germany with his dream in tow:
making life more beautiful for everyone. Little did he know that,
one day, his name would be synonymous with this idea: "Douglas makes
life more beautiful." J. S. Douglas established a perfumery and soap
factory in Hamburg in 1821 – writing the first chapter in one of the
most fascinating success stories in European retail.
early as the 19th century, Douglas was pioneering fine soap and
perfumery products and his innovations earned him several
international awards. The very first "Parfümerie Douglas" opened in
1910 on Jungfernstieg, Hamburg's finest shopping boulevard. In 1969,
after decades of turbulence, Hussel AG (which was renamed DOUGLAS
HOLDING AG in 1989) took over the management of the Douglas
perfumeries in Hamburg, which now comprised six small stores,
marking the first move toward diversification. At that time Hussel
AG also owned the confectionery company Hussel Süßwarenfilialbetrieb
GmbH which had been founded in 1949.
The perfumery business
prospered. In 1974, Douglas entered the international arena when it
took over the Ruttner perfumery in Vienna. The establishment of
numerous other foreign subsidiaries fueled rapid growth in the years
The acquisition of the watch dealers Uhren
Weiss in 1979 laid the foundations for the Group's jewelry
operations – a segment strategically expanded by the investment in
Christ in the 1990s. The Books division (Montanus) launched in 1979
grew initially through its takeover of the German bookseller Phönix.
The merger with Thalia in 2001 was followed by the acquisition of
majority holdings in Jäggi, Stauffacher and ZAP in Switzerland,
Amadeus in Austria, and Bouvier/Gonski, Kober-Löffler, Gondrom and
Buch & Kunst in Germany, making Books the DOUGLAS Group's second
highest-selling division. The Group also owns the fashion stores
Appelrath-Cüpper (since 1986) and the Hussel confectionery shops.
Today the DOUGLAS Group is a top European lifestyle retailer with
plans to further cement its market leadership.
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