Rewe Group’s international arm plans to invest €400m (£360m) this year in Austria, where the division is based, and abroad.

The figure is 20% less than last year, when Rewe International invested €500m (£446m), out of which €200m (£178m) was ploughed into Austria.

Frank Hensel, the international arm’s chief executive, told financial newspaper Wirtschaftsblatt that this year could be even harder than last.

Rewe International sales rose 6% to €11.55bn (£10.3bn) in Austria, Italy and seven Central and Eastern European countries last year.