The kings of textile and owners of the chain C&A live in Switzerland. The great saga of C&A began in the Netherlands in the nineteenth century, when the Brenninkmeijer family sold linen and textiles. Business was going so well that the brothers, Clemens and August Brenninkmeijer, opened a warehouse and founded a trading company in Sneek, in the northern Netherlands. And so the company C&A, Clemens & August, was born.
In 1861, the first C&A store opened in the Netherlands. Pioneers of
the ready-made clothing business, the two brothers provided their large
customer base with quality products at affordable prices. Success was almost
immediate. From 1900 to 1911, a multitude of C&A stores mushroomed throughout
In 1911, the first C&A stores opened in Germany. In 1922, they moved into Great Britain and the European expansion continued into Belgium in 1963, France in 1972, Switzerland in 1977, Luxembourg in 1982, Spain in 1983, Austria in 1984, Portugal in 1991, Ireland and the Czech Republic in 1999. Today, C&A is Europe's fashion leader with 441 stores, 35,000 employees and 20 billion CHF in annual sales.
Heirs of this textile empire, the Brenninkmeijers are considered to be one of the richest families in Switzerland and Europe. Their estimated fortune of over 5 billion CHF is managed from Switzerland.
The clothing chain is currently headed by Lucas Brenninkmeijer. The
Brenninkmeijer family lives in Geneva and Zug, thus benefiting from
reasonable taxation. Norman and Marcel Brenninkmeijer run the Swiss branch of the C&A group,
with over 30 subsidiaries that generate some 300 million CHF per year.