Our history

Dansk Supermarked Group’s history dates back more than 100 years – more precisely to 1906. Over the years, the company has changed dramatically in stature, and what once started as a small draper’s shop in Aarhus has now become an international retail group.



From draper’s shop to department store

In 1906, Ferdinand Salling opened his first draper’s shop in Aarhus. 42 years later, his shop had expanded, and in 1948, the first section of Ferdinand Salling’s department store – Salling Stormagasin – opened.

føtex – the first supermarket in Denmark

In 1960, Herman Salling, the son of Ferdinand Salling, founded føtex - the first supermarket in Denmark. From 1960, Herman Salling’s business expanded and became the foundation of Dansk Supermarked Group.

The founding fathers

Ferdinand Salling formed the foundation for what today is known as Dansk Supermarked Group. Ferdinand Salling died in 1953, whereupon his son, Herman Salling, took over the business. 

The ownership history

In 1964, A.P. Møller became a partner in Jysk Supermarked with a 50% share. The company changed its name to Dansk Supermarked the same year. In 1999, Herman Salling retired and shortly after his 60th anniversary in the company in 2006, Herman Salling passed away and ship-owner Jess Søderberg from A.P. Møller - Maersk became the new chairman of the board.

Salling Fondene takes majority control

In 2014, the ownership structure of the Group was reorganised and Salling Fondene gained majority control by buying 49% of A.P. Møller - Maersk’s shares. As a result, Salling Fondene today hold 81% of the Group's shares.


A man of enterprise

Like his father, Herman Salling was a man of enterprise, and in 1960, he established Jysk Supermarked in order to carry out his plans of operating chains of supermarkets and department stores.

Remarkable progress since 1960

Since the first department store opened in 1948, our portfolio has undergone remarkable progress. In 1960, the first føtex supermarket opened in Aarhus. In 1964, the second Salling department store opened in Aalborg, and in 1970, the first Bilka hypermarket opened in Tilst, just outside Aarhus. About a decade later, in 1981, the first Netto discount store opened in Copenhagen.

All chains have since expanded significantly and grown to nationwide prevalence – as well as international expansion with Netto.

New formats for new times

In 1996, Netto opened its first smaller-format discount store under the new brand døgnNetto. døgnNetto offered a selection of everyday essentials at fair prices and were primarily located in Copenhagen. As a result of great success with the 24/7 opening hours in urban Nettos, the brand døgnNetto was in 2016 phased out.

In 2009, føtex opened its first convenience store under the new brand føtex food. Primarily located in Copenhagen and Aarhus, the two largest cities in Denmark, this chain of convenience stores focuses on food and offers an extensive range of specialities.

International expansion

After nine years of successful experience with Netto in Denmark, the discount chain expanded beyond the Danish borders. In 1990, Netto opened its first discount stores in the UK and Germany. Five years later, in 1995, Netto made its debut in Poland as well, and in 2002, Netto also expanded across the Oresund to Sweden.

In 2011, the 193 British Netto stores were sold. In 2014 Netto returned to the UK in a joint venture with the British retailer Sainsbury’s and exited in 2016.


New ways of shopping

Our chains have always evolved with changes in society. In 1960, føtex offered customers a new way of shopping when the first supermarket opened in Guldsmedgade, Aarhus.

Bilka - the first hypermarket in Denmark

In 1970, the opening of the first Bilka hypermarket caused quite a stir. When it opened on the outskirts of Aarhus, a lot of people showed great interest in what the store had to offer.

Netto – the first Danish discounter

In 1981, Netto was the first Danish discounter to offer customers everyday essentials at low prices. Today, the chain enjoys international success in five countries.

A constantly evolving business adventure

Over its more than 100-year history, our company has evolved from a local draper’s shop to an international retail group with stores in five countries. Today, Dansk Supermarked Group operates a number of different retail chains and business units, all striving for growth and capital for further investment.

The history of Dansk Supermarked Group is one of a successful business adventure, and the story continues. With the ongoing development of existing stores and opening of new ones, the Group is constantly evolving, including the e-commerce business with recent acquisitions to leverage growth potential in this market.