In 1953 Karl Wlaschek opened a discount perfume shop in the Vienna district of Margareten called WKW (Warenhandel Karl Wlaschek, translatable as Karl Wlaschek Trading). By 1960 WKW had 45 stores in Austria. In 1961 the chain was renamed Billa, a portmanteau of “billiger Laden“, German for ‘cheap shop’, started selling food and went over to self-service. In 1965 the company had grown to 109 stores.
REWE Group acquired Billa in 1996