Migros is the largest supermarket chain in Switzerland closely followed by it’s eternal competitor Coop. Both companies have countless smaller and bigger stores all over the country with articles at reasonable prices.

Eating out is rather expensive. But many locals get their lunch at a Migros or Coop store. Just have a look at a store and get anything from food to pocket knife or fondue!

How did it all start?

In 1925 Gottlieb Duttweiler kicked off his first market in Zurich. He introduced the first discounter store with lower prices but a bigger volume. At first he just sold six articles only such as rice, coffee, sugar etc from the back of a truck in areas with little access to markets. As a broad resistance from competitors arose Duttweiler started creating his own products such as meat, milk and chocolate.

Duttweiler was very successful and by 1941 he handed his business over to the customers by creating cooperatives. By 1950 the founder had formulated his fifteen theses that Migros still adheres to such as:

  • his shops would sell no alcohol, no cigarettes and no pornographic materials.
  • No dividends would get paid but the earnings above 5% would get passed on to the customers by lowering prices.
  • Any living adult in the country can become a member
  • 0.5% of it’s revenue is used for cultural projects
  • the general interest is placed higher than the interest of the cooperative

Nowadays Migros is called the „orange giant“. A capital M is it’s trade mark. Migros owns not only a huge super market chain but also a Migros Bank, it offer evening courses on many different topics (languages, cooking, computing etc), a travel agency, a sports shop chain, electronics chain, garden shops, restaurants, petrol stations etc. It employs over 100’000 people.

Migros is by now a real heavy weight and over the years has pushed out many smaller shops or bought up competitors. Migros owns 70% of Denner who does sell alcohol and cigarettes. Many farmers complain that Migros and Coop dictate the prices. Some critics say that Migros has somewhat lost touch with it’s founders ideals.

Recently smaller competitors were able to push into the Swiss market such as Aldi and Lidl bringing in even more choice. Both companies are from Germany and have successfully challenged the two giants.