Business Model

The kika/Leiner furniture store chain was acquired in June 2018 and is an integral part of SIGNA Home & Lifestyle. With its 42 stores and about 4,300 employees, this traditional company is one of the major players in the industry. For SIGNA Retail, the acquisition of kika/Leiner marks its initial entry into Austria’s brick-and-mortar retail sector. At the same time, it heralded a new era in the history of one of Austria’s largest and most popular furniture store chains. The integration of this furniture chain into the SIGNA Group was a strategic step that gave the company a unique opportunity to re-organise and shape a sustainable future.

Home & LifestyleManagement

Oliver Müther

Oliver Müther

As of mid-October of 2018, Oliver Müther, formerly Managing Director and authorised signatory at Dodenhof as well as Commission Manager at Begros Einkaufsverband, assumed overall responsibility for purchasing at the traditional Austrian company kika/Leiner. As an experienced purchasing manager in the furniture sector, he successfully contributes his expertise in the development of a sustainable furniture range with a good eye for future topics relevant to the strategic repositioning of the traditional Austrian company kika/Leiner.

Darius Kauthe

Darius Kauthe

Darius Kauthe assumed the position of CFO when SIGNA Retail took over kika/Leiner. This top manager, originally from the Czech Republic, can look back on many years of experience in the retail sector and was most recently Managing Director Administration, Finance and IT International (CFO/CIO) at KiK Textilien from 2009. Before that, he held executive positions and was responsible for the management of Kaufland from 1997 onwards. Darius Kauthe is a profound expert in this industry.

Reinhold Gütebier

Reinhold Gütebier

Reinhold Gütebier took over the helm of the traditional Austrian company kika/Leiner in early October of 2018. For over 20 years, Reinhold Gütebier, originally from northern Germany, worked at Segmüller, one of Germany’s most significant furniture retailers, where he was overall distribution manager, marketing manager and spokesman for the management team, and he was also responsible for the successful expansion strategy of the company. He is regarded as one of the most experienced and accomplished managers in the furniture industry.

Retail Companies

Since the SIGNA takeover, much has already happened in the company. In October of 2018, the entire top management team was newly appointed: the experienced industry professional Reinhold Gütebier started as the new CEO, followed by Oliver Müther and Darius Kauthe – also established retail experts – who were recruited as the new COO and CFO, respectively.

Just a few weeks after the arrival of the new management team and the first tough cuts in the organisation and processes, both traditional domestic brands once again were able to record significant increases in frequency and sales.
In the course of the first modernisation steps, the management team developed a new future concept for the group that also featured a re-positioning of the two brands. Due to their high name recognition and existing level of trust among customers, these will of course remain in place – but their USP will continue to be enhanced.

The Leiner furniture store chain, which can look back on a company history spanning over a century, has been one of Austria’s top addresses for quality and sustainability for many decades; that’s why Leiner will continue to present itself as a furniture store chain with upscale, yet affordable products. In future, Leiner customers can once again rely on complete consultation and planning by trained furnishing experts,
while the kika furniture store chain will be positioned with a focus on a cosmopolitan, trend-conscious, youthful clientele that can appreciate its fresh, dynamic style and a large, yet affordable selection. Its excellent price-performance ratio will be even more important for kika in future. Other essential points in the company’s modernisation of the company include the expansion of the employee structure and additional targeted training measures.

Extensive efficiency-boosting measures are currently also being implemented in the logistics area to make the process chains more efficient with regard to speed, time and costs.