Migros (ˈmiɡro) is one of Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

's largest enterprises, its largest supermarket
A supermarket, a form of grocery store, is a self-service store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise, organized into departments...

 chain and largest employer. It co-founded Turkey's largest retailer, Migros Türk
Migros Türk
Ramstore/Migros Türk Ticaret A.Ş. is one of the biggest chain of supermarkets in Turkey.Together via Migros supermarkets, Şok discount stores, international Ramstore shopping centers, online shopping, wholesale stores, and mobile sales units, Migros Türk serves an estimated 160 million customers...

, which became independent of Migros Switzerland in 1975.

The name comes from the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 "mi" for half or mid-way and "gros", which means wholesale. Thus the word connotes prices that are halfway between retail and wholesale.
The logo
A logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition...

 of the company is a large orange M, which some Swiss newspapers call "the orange giant" . The firm's loyalty card is the M-cumulus card (a play on the word accumulate and a type of cloud formation).


Migros was founded in 1925 in Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

 as a private enterprise by Gottlieb Duttweiler
Gottlieb Duttweiler
Gottlieb Duttweiler was a Swiss businessman and politician, founder of both the Migros chain of grocery stores and the party....

, who had the idea of selling just six basic foodstuffs at low prices to householders who, in those days, did not have ready access to markets of any kind. At first he sold only coffee, rice, sugar, noodles, coconut oil and soap from trucks that went from one village or hamlet to another. Later he and his drivers expanded their inventory and in 1926 Duttweiler built his first market, also in Zürich. His second store, in Ticino
Canton Ticino or Ticino is the southernmost canton of Switzerland. Named after the Ticino river, it is the only canton in which Italian is the sole official language...

, presaged the future because it was founded as a cooperative
A cooperative is a business organization owned and operated by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit...

. By 1941 the energetic entrepreneur had built a number of markets but in that year he basically gave the business to his customers by transforming everything from his privately owned enterprises into regional cooperatives, headed by the Federation of Migros Cooperatives (FCM) .

As early as 1935, Duttweiler showed his zest for expansion by founding the Hotelplan travel agency. Later the Migros brand was applied to a weekly magazine, Wir Brückenbauer (now known as Migros Magazin) in 1942. Other ventures were restaurants in 1952, gasoline stations (Migrol) in 1954, language schools (Eurocentres) in 1956, a bank (Migros Bank, Banque Migros) in 1957 and an insurance company, 1959.

Migros opened its first foreign supermarket in the frontier region of France, in Thoiry
Thoiry, Ain
Thoiry is a commune in the Ain department in eastern France.-Population:...

, in 1993, and its first recreation park, Säntispark, at Abtwil in St. Gallen
Canton of St. Gallen
The Canton of St. Gallen is a canton of Switzerland. St. Gallen is located in the north east of Switzerland. It covers an area of 2,026 km², and has a population of . , the population included 97,461 foreigners, or about 20.9% of the total population. The capital is St. Gallen. Spelling...

, in 1986.
In 1954 Migros entered the Turkish
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 market, forming Migros Türk in partnership with the Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 City Council. This was sold to Turkish group Koç Holding
Koç Holding
Koç Holding A.Ş. is the top industrial conglomeratein Turkey. The Koç family, one of Turkey's wealthiest families, controls the company with its headquarter in Nakkaştepe, Istanbul...

 in 1975 and is the largest retailer in Turkey.

Migros today

To this day, Migros keeps the cooperative society as its form of organization. Nowadays, a large part of the Swiss population are members of the Migros cooperative – around 2 million of Switzerland's total population of 7.2 million, thus making Migros a supermarket chain that is owned by its customers.

Reflecting the altruism of its founder, Migros operates a number of evening schools for working adults, featuring classes in cooking, languages and other subjects. It has obligated itself to spend one percent of its annual turnover for financing cultural projects in a broad sense; the sub-organization taking care of this is called Migros Kulturprozent ("cultural percent"). An example of the Kulturprozent's activity is its own record label
Record label
In the music industry, a record label is a brand and a trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Most commonly, a record label is the company that manages such brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing and promotion,...

 Musiques Suisses often featuring little-known works from Swiss music history.

The supermarkets are categorized in the three size classes of M, MM and MMM.

Migros acquired some notoriety in 1977 when it fired its severest internal critic, Hans A. Pestalozzi
Hans A. Pestalozzi
Hans A. Pestalozzi was a Swiss social critic who, in the prime of life, broke free from the Establishment and started a new life explaining and criticizing late 20th century capitalism, which eventually led to his becoming a bestselling author .Pestalozzi was born in Zürich...


M-Budget and Migros Sélection

In 1996, influenced by the budget ranges in supermarket chains in Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Migros made their budget range called M-Budget with 70 products aimed at those with low incomes and large families. Now it has grown to 330 products including mountain bike
Mountain bike
A mountain bike or mountain bicycle is a bicycle created for off-road cycling. This activity includes traversing of rocks and washouts, and steep declines,...

s, snowboard
Snowboards are boards, usually with a width the length of one's foot, with the ability to glide on snow. Snowboards are differentiated from monoskis by the stance of the user...

s, mp3 players, milk chocolate, jeans
Jeans are trousers made from denim. Some of the earliest American blue jeans were made by Jacob Davis, Calvin Rogers, and Levi Strauss in 1873. Starting in the 1950s, jeans, originally designed for cowboys, became popular among teenagers. Historic brands include Levi's, Lee, and Wrangler...

, shoes and lighters. M-Budget products have a standardized packaging color scheme, consisting of a grass green background with the Migros logo in small white text repeated over it.

Many of these products are produced in limited quantities rather than as an integral, permanent part of the Migros line. Whether they become permanent depends on their success. This, combined with the considerable brand recognition that Migros enjoys, conveys a certain amount of desirability to the rarer products. As a result, M-Budget items will sometimes be considered collectibles, as it is not always sure that they will ever be produced again.

To promote the range, in the early 2000s, Migros developed M-Budget Party with tickets costing CHF 9,90 including free non-alcoholic drinks (cola
Cola is a carbonated beverage that was typically flavored by the kola nut as well as vanilla and other flavorings, however, some colas are now flavored artificially. It became popular worldwide after druggist John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in 1886...

, lemonade
Lemonade is a lemon-flavored drink, typically made from lemons, water and sugar.The term can refer to three different types of beverage:...

 and orange juice
Orange juice
Orange juice is a popular beverage made from oranges. It is made by extraction from the fresh fruit, by desiccation and subsequent reconstitution of dried juice, or by concentration of the juice and the subsequent addition of water to the concentrate...

) and snacks (crisps, chocolate
Chocolate is a raw or processed food produced from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central and South America. Its earliest documented use is around 1100 BC...

 and cake
Cake is a form of bread or bread-like food. In its modern forms, it is typically a sweet and enriched baked dessert. In its oldest forms, cakes were normally fried breads or cheesecakes, and normally had a disk shape...


In 2005, together with Swisscom
Swisscom AG is a major telecommunications provider in Switzerland. Along with Swiss Post, it is a successor company to the former state-owned PTT. Its headquarters are located at Worblaufen near Bern...

, Migros launched M-Budget Mobile, a pay-as-you-go mobile phone company.

Also in 2005, Migros introduced a premium line called Migros Sélection, featuring for the most part food products typically associated with higher budgets and prepared in different fashions than is available through general stock. Sélection products also have their distinctive packaging, with pearl white and gold color schemes.

In April 2006, Migros announced the M-Budget credit card
Credit card
A credit card is a small plastic card issued to users as a system of payment. It allows its holder to buy goods and services based on the holder's promise to pay for these goods and services...

, an initiative between FCM, GE Money Bank and MasterCard
Mastercard Incorporated or MasterCard Worldwide is an American multinational financial services corporation with its headquarters in the MasterCard International Global Headquarters, Purchase, Harrison, New York, United States...

, originally with an annual rate of CHF
Swiss franc
The franc is the currency and legal tender of Switzerland and Liechtenstein; it is also legal tender in the Italian exclave Campione d'Italia. Although not formally legal tender in the German exclave Büsingen , it is in wide daily use there...

 4,40, which is low compared to credit card annual rates of CHF 100 for a MigrosBank MasterCard Argent credit card. The card was ready by the autumn 2006. After Coop
Coop (Switzerland)
Coop is a Swiss cooperative which operates the largest in supermarket chain in Switzerland. In 2001, Coop merged with 11 cooperative federations which had been its main suppliers for over 100 years....

, the biggest competitor of Migros, announced a credit card without any annual rate, Migros scrapped its annual charge. Migros later announced the full details of the credit card, it will have an APR
Annual percentage rate
The term annual percentage rate , also called nominal APR, and the term effective APR, also called EAR, describe the interest rate for a whole year , rather than just a monthly fee/rate, as applied on a loan, mortgage loan, credit card, etc. It is a finance charge expressed as an annual rate...

 of 9.9% and the ability to gain cumulus points (1 point per 2 francs).

The Migros ethic

Migros sells neither alcoholic beverages nor cigarettes in its flagship supermarkets, but some retailers acquired by Migros continue selling these products; this includes Globus
Globus (company)
Globus is a Swiss department store company, with 13 department stores in Switzerland. The group, which also includes the Herren Globus chain of menswear stores and the Office World chain of office supplies stores, it is owned by Switzerland's largest retailer, Migros.Globus was founded in 1907 in...

, Migrol and Denner stores, as well as their online shopping service LeShop.ch. In addition, Migros does not stock pornographic magazines of any level of explicitness.


Swiss Migros:
  • Migros – supermarkets
  • LeShop.ch – an online supermarket (cooperation started in 2004 - 80% of shares bought in 2006) http://www.leshop.ch
  • Migrol – petrol stations
  • M-electronics – electronics
    Consumer electronics
    Consumer electronics are electronic equipment intended for everyday use, most often in entertainment, communications and office productivity. Radio broadcasting in the early 20th century brought the first major consumer product, the broadcast receiver...

     retail stores and internet music download service
  • OBI
    OBI (store)
    Founded in 1970, OBI GmbH & Co. Deutschland KG is the second largest DIY retailer in Europe, and the fourth largest in the world, behind The Home Depot, Lowe's and Kingfisher plc. It is headquartered in Wermelskirchen, Germany, and belongs to the Tengelmann Group.-OBI in Europe:It formerly had...

     – Do it yourself
    Do it yourself
    Do it yourself is a term used to describe building, modifying, or repairing of something without the aid of experts or professionals...

  • FitnessPark – fitness centres
  • Do it+Garden Migros – Do it yourself stores and garden centre
    Garden centre
    A garden centre is a retail firm that sells plants and products related to gardens as its primary business. It is open to the public, with facilities to care for and display plants.- UK :...

  • Micasa – furniture
    Furniture is the mass noun for the movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating and sleeping in beds, to hold objects at a convenient height for work using horizontal surfaces above the ground, or to store things...

  • MigrosBank – bank
    A bank is a financial institution that serves as a financial intermediary. The term "bank" may refer to one of several related types of entities:...

     (it is the fifth-largest in Switzerland)

  • Golfpark – public golf
    Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

  • Change Migros – currency exchange
  • Ex Libris – bookshops
  • Migros Klubschule  – adult education
    Adult education
    Adult education is the practice of teaching and educating adults. Adult education takes place in the workplace, through 'extension' school or 'school of continuing education' . Other learning places include folk high schools, community colleges, and lifelong learning centers...

  • SportXX – sports shops
  • Eurocentres
    Eurocentres - Language Learning Worldwide is one of the main players in language travel. Currently Eurocentres offers 31 language schools in 16 countries for people to learn English, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Japanese in a country where the language concerned is...

     – language school
    Language school
    A language school is a school where one studies a foreign language. Classes at a language school are usually geared towards, but not limited to, communicative competence in a foreign language...

  • Chocolat Frey
    Chocolat Frey
    Chocolat Frey AG, based in Buchs in the Swiss Canton of Aargau, manufactures chocolate and chewing gum. The products of the leading chocolate manufacturer on the Swiss chocolate market are sold both in Switzerland and abroad under the brand name of Frey as well as additional private labels...

     – chocolate manufacture
  • Migros Magazin – the company's sales magazine
  • Hotelplan – holidays company
  • Florissimail – postal flower service
  • Monte Generoso Railway
    Monte Generoso Railway
    The Monte Generoso Railway or Ferrovia Monte Generoso is a mountain railway line in the Italian speaking canton of Ticino, in south-east Switzerland. The line runs from Capolago, on Lake Lugano, to a terminus near the summit of Monte Generoso. The summit offers extensive views over the Lombardy...

    , railway owned by Migros

Globus Group (became part of Migros in 1997)
  • Interio – furniture stores
  • Globus – department store
    Department store
    A department store is a retail establishment which satisfies a wide range of the consumer's personal and residential durable goods product needs; and at the same time offering the consumer a choice of multiple merchandise lines, at variable price points, in all product categories...

  • Globus Herren – menswear stores

  • Office World – office supplies (not the British Office Worlds, owned by Staples
    Staples, Inc.
    Staples Inc. is a large office supply chain store, with over 2,000 stores worldwide in 26 countries. Based in Framingham, Massachusetts, United States, the company has retail stores, serving customers under its original name in Austria, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Norway,...

  • Globi
    Globi is a Swiss cartoon character often referred to as Switzerland's Mickey Mouse. He is pictured as an anthropomorphic blue parrot with a yellow beak wearing a black beret and a pair of red and black checked trousers. He was created by the Swiss cartoonist Robert Lips, as an advertising character...

     – a cartoon character who is mascot of the Globus Group, often refers as Switzerland's Mickey Mouse
    Mickey Mouse
    Mickey Mouse is a cartoon character created in 1928 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks at The Walt Disney Studio. Mickey is an anthropomorphic black mouse and typically wears red shorts, large yellow shoes, and white gloves...



The main competitor is Coop
Coop (Switzerland)
Coop is a Swiss cooperative which operates the largest in supermarket chain in Switzerland. In 2001, Coop merged with 11 cooperative federations which had been its main suppliers for over 100 years....

, Switzerland's second-largest supermarket chain, a cooperative like Migros, but with a more centralized organization. Amongst the smaller competitors are the Manor
Manor (Switzerland)
Manor AG is a Swiss department store chain with its headquarter in Basel. With an estimated market share of 59%, Manor is Switzerland’s biggest department-store chain. The Manor Group extends to the 70 Manor stores employing some 11,300 personnel, the Athleticum sports goods chain and Switzerland’s...

 department store chain, and more recently Aldi
ALDI Einkauf GmbH & Co. oHG, doing business as ', short for "Albrecht Discount", is a discount supermarket chain based in Germany...

. Although Aldi is a very large international supermarket group, it entered the Swiss market only recently (Aldi opened its first Swiss shops in 2005) and thus operates just a few branches at the present time. However, it is expected that Aldi will become one of the major competitors of both Migros and Coop, as it managed to set established supermarket chains in other countries under heavy pressure through an aggressive discount strategy. A further competitor is Lidl
Lidl is a discount supermarket chain based in Germany that operates over 7,200 stores across Europe. The company's full name is Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG...

which established its first Swiss supermarkets in March 2009.

In January 2007, Migros acquired a majority stake in Denner Discount, effectively merging the largest and third largest food retail chains in Switzerland. According to both companies, the move was effected in order for the Denner chain to better compete with increasing foreign competition.


Some critics like Sorgim, a Swiss non-profit organization (its name is Migros backwards), claim that Migros has lost touch with its founder's ideals. They say that the cooperative is not governed democratically by its members as it was once envisioned by Duttweiler. It is argued that instead, through various amendments to the by-laws, it is now the executive board that decides over all major business matters and policies.

External links

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