The drugstore branch has its roots stretching back to the 1800´s. In those days, it was common for a druggist who could not own a pharmacy, to start a drugstore business. The drugstore sold, among other things, chemicals, feed, photographic supplies, washing detergent, herbs and spices. Many also prepared creams, hair tonics, after shave and skin tonic.
A small group of drugstore owners discovered that they could receive bulk discounts if they purchased products collectively. Eventually more drugstore owners joined in the purchasing arrangement and, in November of 1949, MATerialisternes AktieSelskab or Matas A/S was formed.
This collaboration proved tremendously successful. The first year saw a turnover of 537,000 DDK but had to record a loss of 24.50 DDK – the one and only loss ever recorded in Matas´ history. Already by the following year, the shareholders could count 60 stores and the nationwide structure was a reality.
Matas A/S presents its first Matas logo, and the following year sees collaboration with Steins Laboratory and establishment of a constitution for all Matas products. This stipulated that Matas products may not contain hazardous chemicals and that the contents should, with regards to weight and size, accurately reflect the description of the contents given on the packaging, while maintaining the same, uniform standard of quality.
A few years later came the publication of the first 700,000 copies of Matas´ newspaper, a print run that was 4½ times larger than that of the country’s leading newspaper.
The Stripe design was developed and the first bottled products with stripes saw the light of day. These included, among other things, skin tonic, toner and moisturising lotion. There were now over 150 druggists in the company.
The Vital Shop was introduced, as a result of the health food wave that was sweeping Europe. There were now just less than 200 Matas stores.
Matas A/S celebrates its 40 year anniversary in style, with no fewer than three accolades:
Crowned most “excellent” retail chain and presented with both the MMM prize and the Guldkorn (Gold Grain) of the Year for best weekly magazine advertisement.
Environmental issues played a significant role in Matas. The country-wide Matas Return system was set in motion, and in so doing we became the first retail chain in Denmark, to allow for the return of packaging and thereby ensuring recycling.
The Matas Environmental Fund was established in 1994 – and in 1995 the first two of Matas´ products received the Nordic Ecolabel. Since then, there have been numerous additions so that to date, Matas is able to offer approximately 100 Matas-brand products labelled with the Nordic Ecolabel.
The new Matas MediCare concept is introduced. This new ground breaking section offers a wide range of products within derma-cosmetic skin care, over-the-counter medicines as well as first aid and veterinary preparations.
The chain now includes 292 stores. A new generation of “Stripes” sees the light of day. The Stripes are now at the forefront when offering quality, health and environmentally-friendly products.
The Matas chain´s stakeholders accept an offer for acquisition from, among others, the private equity firm CVC Capital Partners. In June, a clear majority agrees on a change in Matas´ statutes to allow for a new structure of ownership.
Individual negotiations with owners and CVC Capital Partners take place throughout the autumn of 2006.
On the 28th February, Matas converts to a new structure of ownership. The majority of the stores now become part of a capital chain, where CVC Capital Partners are the principal shareholder. The privately owned stores continue to work in close collaboration with Matas A/S, with regards to the distribution of the Striped product range as well as joint campaigns.
The Matas chain turns 60. The anniversary is celebrated by competitions offering great prizes to customers. In addition, the occasion is marked by the sale of selected products from the special “Dotted” range. The sale of this product range supports The Christmas Seal Houses, and results in a Matas´ contribution to the charity in excess of a quarter of a million Danish kroner.
In the autumn of 2010, Matas launches its new customer club, Club Matas, that even as early as by the turn of the year, had attained a membership of 400,000 members. In 2012, the number of members has exceeded 1 million.
Matas initiates a historical cooperation with a pharmacist from Uldum, Jutland. Medicine dispensation is established in three Matas stores and then further ten stores.
Medicine dispensation is expanded to a total of 50 stores throughout the country.
Based on Matas’ loyalty club, Club Matas, which has now more than 1 mill. members, Matas develops a new loyalty concept together with the strongest B2C companies in Denmark. This new concept is launched under the name ClubM.