When you’re looking for British things in Germany, a not-so-obvious place to shop is TK Maxx.
TK Maxx, to avoid any confusion, is the European arm of the American brand TJ Maxx. The first two stores opened in Massachusetts in 1977, with the UK launch of TK Maxx arriving in 1994. Why the name change? Well we already had TJ Hughes – a British discount department store, established in 1925. As the store names would have been very similar, the name change avoided confusion (and probably some legal issues!).
Since 2007 there’s been a TK Maxx presence in Germany. So what is it? Chances are, you already know.
It’s an off-price retailer that stocks varying labels at varying discounts. The average store holds items from accessories to coats, clothes and shoes. Expect candles, picture frames and toys. You’ll also find home furnishings, from cushions and blankets to decorative items – often of a unique design…
The basic premise is that TK Maxx has a constantly revolving product line, with no one being really sure what might turn up. As the brand says themselves…
If you love it, grab it. We don’t hold replenishment product in our stock rooms and often, the store managers don’t even know what’s coming until they throw open the delivery lorry doors. That’s what makes us so exciting to shop. | TK Maxx
What this means for a shopper tends to be clothing racks filled with items, only very loosely categorised and mixed together. It’s not a shopping experience I myself care for, as I tend to feel it’s much like a jumble sale. If you’re the sort that likes digging through sales racks though? You’ll undoubtedly find yourself a bargain.
When it comes to cookware though, I certainly have more patience for the store. And that’s why TK Maxx is getting a mention here… As in Germany, I’ve found many of the product lines held in the Kitchenware section are British imports.
I mean, who else would produce a Yorkshire Pudding tin?
The average TK Maxx store and our online shop at tkmaxx.com receive several deliveries per week with each delivery containing thousands of items. Our rapidly changing assortments create the treasure hunt shopping experience that our customers love. | TK Maxx
The ever-changing stock list means you might not find the thing you’re looking for, necessitating multiple trips back to the shop. But if you’re lucky? You could be heading away from TK Maxx with something familiar at a discount price.
From Brabantia and Tefal pans to Taylor’s Eye Witness knives. I’ve seen Jamie Oliver cookware, Mason Cash and even The Great British Bake Off branded goods. Joseph Joseph has made an appearance here, along with the Hairy Bikers products. My 2lb loaf tin came from Munich’s TK Maxx!
The food section is, thankfully, not quite as haphazard as the clothing.
A recent addition to the Munich store is the “Delikatessen” section, filled with pastas, oils and vinegars. We found some cured meats and marinated olives on our visit. We also found a row of jams and spices too!
When we first arrived in Germany I was surprised that our TK Maxx didn’t have a dedicated little food section. It does look as though that’s slowly being added to the layout. At least, for now.
I’ve actually seen the most organisation I’ve encountered in a TK Maxx here in Munich, though the food items still frustratingly line the queue to the tills. It makes it ever so difficult to browse, particularly when items are literally placed right at the till itself.
A plea to TK Maxx: Stop it! At least, if you’re going to put items you consider to be “impulse purchase” by the till, do make sure they’re actually in the designated food section too.
So what might you find? In my experience, there’s always tea. Whether it’s Williamson or English Tea Shop, I’ve seen Whittard of Chelsea along with a whole host of teas I’ve never heard of.
You might find biscuits or chocolates too, often from the UK and Italy. When chocolate makes an appearance, it’s sometimes Elizabeth Shaw or Monty Bojangles, Gnaw or Chocolate and Love. It changes frequently and you might not see the same thing twice. Unless it’s Jelly Belly Beans. They’re practically always there. I’ve even spotted Ten Acre popcorn in Munich’s store before!
So whilst I’m not the biggest fan of the ‘pot luck’ shopping experience, if you’re in Germany and craving an affordable little piece of home – give TK Maxx a try. You never know what you’ll find! And I’ll wager there’s plenty of choice in the run up to Christmas…
Location | TK Maxx, Neuhauser Straße 21, 80331 München
Opening Times | Monday – Saturday, 9:30am – 8pm
Find Out More | Website