The Company and its History
In 1911, the businessmen Anton Cloppenburg and Paul Schröder teamed up to establish the clothing retailer Peek&Cloppenburg in the German city of Hamburg. Inspired by the city's Hanseatic tradition, the two founders focused on a clear aim right from the word go: to establish a long-term basis of trust for and with their customers. They decided to achieve this aim by focusing on providing expert advice, high-quality goods and stores with an elegant and tasteful atmosphere. This successful combination has enabled Peek&Cloppenburg to establish itself as a future-oriented retailer for more than one hundred years.
The Entire Story
Join us on a historical journey through time on which we will explore some of the most important milestones achieved by Peek&Cloppenburg KG – from the founding of our first clothing store right through to the launch of our online shop.
The history of the corporate group began over one hundred years ago in the Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Germany, where the company Peek&Cloppenburg GmbH was founded. The Dutch entrepreneur Anton Cloppenburg and his brother-in-law Paul Schröder were the two innovative business men behind the company.
The first Peek&Cloppenburg clothing store opened its doors in the Alsenhof building on the corner of the Graskeller and Rödingsmarkt streets in Hamburg on 12th March 1912. The store, which was spread over two floors, offered clothing for both men and boys, as well as sportswear. It also featured a large custom-tailoring department and its very own in-store studio for alterations. Peek&Cloppenburg employed as many as 105 members of staff in its very first year of business.
Women's fashion did not start to establish itself as an important aspect on an economic level until the 1920s. When it started to emerge, this was reason enough for Peek&Cloppenburg to closely observe the growing fashion awareness of the era and respond by opening a department for women's and girls' clothing as part of the expansion of its shop building in 1937.
Peek&Cloppenburg GmbH became a limited partnership in 1939. In May of the same year, the company experienced its first change in generation, when Fritz Cloppenburg became a personally liable partner. Alfred Schröder followed him into the company management as an equal business partner in 1946.
After the company's Graskeller store was completely destroyed as a result of destructive air raids during World War II, Peek&Cloppenburg opened its new prestigious flagship store in the historical Südseehaus building in Mönckebergstrasse, Hamburg, after a brief transition period. The company management facilities moved into the neighbouring Barkhof building.
The period between the 1950s and 1990s represented a time of expansion for Peek&Cloppenburg. Alongside stores in Hamburg, the company opened new branches in different locations throughout northern Germany and in former East Germany.
At the end of the 1970s, Dirk Schröder and James Cloppenburg joined Peek&Cloppenburg as personally liable partners, representing the third generation to keep the family company on course for further growth.
The subsidiary company VAN GRAAF was established under the umbrella of Peek&Cloppenburg KG in 2001, laying the foundation for yet another successful retail concept. After opening its first store in the Polish city of Wrocław, the company established itself in the European market within just a few years and currently has stores in five different countries: Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Felix Schröder joined the company management.
After the old storage facilities in the Allermöhe quarter of Hamburg become too small, the company moved to a new logistics centre covering an area of 35,000 sqm in the town of Reinbek near Hamburg in 2009. All of the stores run by the group of companies are now connected to this warehouse and depot, which boasts state-of-the-art environmentally friendly technology.
Peek&Cloppenburg launched the online shop VANGRAAF.COM on the German market in cooperation with its subsidiary VAN GRAAF GmbH in 2012 and used its new e-commerce channel to successfully establish itself as an omni-channel fashion retailer.
The online shop was also launched on the Polish market in 2016.
In 2017, the latest new VAN GRAAF store will open its doors in Kraków, Poland's second largest city. The second VAN GRAAF store in the Polish capital Warsaw and a new VAN GRAAF store in the Polish city of Gdańsk will open in 2018.