The Austrian company SIGNA, founded in 1999 by René Benko , is a privately held industrial group that is active in both the retail and real estate sectors.
SIGNA Real Estate
SIGNA Real Estate owns, develops and manages a comprehensive portfolio of exceptional real estate projects in the DACH region and in Italy. SIGNA Real Estate is one of the leading real estate development companies in Europe.
SIGNA Retail manages several holdings in brick-and-mortar retail companies and online retailers (including The KaDeWe Group, Karstadt, Internetstores, MyBestBrands, etc.). Consistent further development of its omni-channel strategy and the digital transformation of its individual retail platforms, with more than 125 locations in the best city centres, and its 55 online stores in more than 15 countries, all contribute to SIGNA Retail’s steady growth.
What SIGNA stands for
Many years of experience, professional management, a solid capital structure, an extensive network, motivated employees, and the search for visionary concepts are at the heart of SIGNA.
“I strive for success with my strong commitment to having a motivated team and reliable partners. Apparently, I also have a great deal of luck in figuring out trends and good timing,”
says René Benko, founder of SIGNA.
Another characteristic of the company is the establishment of partnerships with long-term, sustainability-focused people who, in addition to having remarkable biographies, are also endowed with a dynamic entrepreneurial spirit. Some of its prominent supporters, partners and investors include Alfred Gusenbauer, Prof. Roland Berger, Susanne Riess, Karl Sevelda, Ernst Tanner, Hans-Peter Haselsteiner, Thorsten Töller, Karl Samstag, Niki Lauda and Karl Stoss.
Over the course of 17 years, René Benko has built up one of the largest real estate companies in Europe and one of the largest retail companies in Germany. SIGNA started as a small real estate development company in Innsbruck, and then very quickly expanded to Vienna. When it started, the company’s focus was on building lofts. René Benko already recognised the potential of these unused and often undervalued properties.
“We created high-quality residential spaces from unused loft areas. That is how my passion for entrepreneurship developed,”
says René Benko, founder of SIGNA.
After completing many loft expansions, he quickly developed the idea of constructing medical centres in capital cities of Austrian provinces. SIGNA quickly became the largest operator of medical centres in Austria. During that time, a Company Advisory Board was created, whose task is to promote the company’s strategy, development and new business. The Board now includes 12 people and it is managed by René Benko.
The development of the architectural wonder, the Kaufhaus Tyrol into one of the most popular shopping centres in Austria is regarded as an “apprentice’s master work” of the company. One of the company’s masterpieces is found in the new city centre district of Vienna – the Goldene Quartier (Golden District) – with the establishment of flagship stores by the most important international luxury brands, as well as the Park Hyatt Vienna in the middle of a new pedestrian zone. At the same time, additional offices were opened in Munich, Zurich, Luxembourg and Düsseldorf. Further milestones included the acquisition of the three KaDeWe locations, Alsterhaus and Oberpollinger in Berlin, Hamburg and Munich.
SIGNA Real Estate currently owns and manages a comprehensive property portfolio of extraordinary real estate properties and is perceived to be a competent partner in fund management and real estate services. This sector has around 200 employees who work in four independent business units. They include SIGNA Development Selection, SIGNA Funds, SIGNA Luxury Hotels and SIGNA Prime Selection, which focuses on investment and long-term real estate holdings in prime city centre locations in Europe.
In addition to its real estate activities, SIGNA has successfully completed exciting acquisitions in the retail sector, with Karstadt sports, Karstadt and the KaDeWe Group. The SIGNA Retail Group combines four independent trading platforms under one roof: SIGNA Department Store Group, The KaDeWe Group, SIGNA Sports Group, and the SIGNA Food & Restaurant Group. Each of these platforms has a leading market position in its German and European retail market. In the German sport and luxury goods sector, as well as in the department store sector, SIGNA Retail already counts by a long way as one of the largest commercial concerns in Germany, and one of the “Top Five” in Europe.
More than 125 stores in the finest inner-city locations and 55 web shops in over 15 countries ensure that the SIGNA Retail Group is set to grow a great deal further in Europe. The focus is on the consistent further development of the omni-channel strategies of the individual commercial platforms. The SIGNA Retail Group presently employs some 20,000 people, and achieves a Group-wide turnover of approx. 3.8 billion EUR annually.