At 21 he acquired the degree "Meister" butcher and took over the parental butcher's shop. In 1975 he built his first drug store in Kirchheim unter Teck. Two years later there were already more than 100 stores. As of 2003, there were more than 13,000 stores across Europe, employing about 50,000 people and generating revenue of about 6.55 billion euros.
In 1987 his two children – Meike and Lars – were kidnapped. After he paid 9.6 million marks in ransom they were released. In summer 1998, Wilhelm Hudelmaier and Herbert Jacoby were arrested in Ehingen and convicted of kidnapping. In 1999 they were convicted by the Landgericht Ulm of kidnapping and extortion. They both were sentenced to a prison term of 13.5 years.
In 1998 Schlecker and his wife were given a suspended sentence of ten months each and fined one million euros by the Regional Court in Stuttgart for deceiving Schlecker employees into believing they were paid according to going pay rates. Actual salaries were lower, which was deemed fraud by the court.
In July 2012 Anton Schlecker and his family declared bankruptcy and all Schlecker stores were been closed and were sold off to the appointed receivers.