Switzerland's retail sector generates CHF 100 billion in sales and employs 300,000 people. Long-established cooperatives Migros and Coop are the two main players. 

Coop and Migros loyalty cards.
The retail sector employs 300,000 people and is one of Switzerland's biggest employers. © FDFA, Presence Switzerland

Some 35,000 retailers operate in Switzerland, generating CHF 100 billion in sales. The majority of the 300,000 staff employed in retail are women working part-time. Two cooperatives, Migros (CHF 30 billion turnover and 98,000 employees) and Coop (CHF 34 billion and 95,000 employees), are the clear frontrunners in the Swiss retail market. Both Migros and Coop can look back on a history spanning 100 years in Switzerland. Each cooperative boasts over two million members and enjoys broad public support. The strong support for Coop and Migros is boosted by the fact that they operate a wide range of businesses, including property management, electricals and home furnishings stores and travel agencies. Both cooperatives are also involved in various social and cultural activities. Other retail players include the discount chain Denner (Migros Group), the Fenaco Group, which operates Volg and Landi, and German retailers Aldi and Lidl, which set up in Switzerland some 15 years ago.

In the past decade, online shopping has gained in popularity, although it still only accounts for a modest share of total retail sales (less than 15%). There are significant differences between individual product categories, e.g. food and electricals.

International players are generally more prevalent in the non-food sector, e.g. Swedish and Austrian furniture retailers Ikea and the XXXLutz Group, Swedish and Spanish clothing retailers H&M and Zara, and German consumer electricals retailer Mediamarkt.