BERLIN / EAT (dpa-AFX) – The ailing department store chain Karstadt is after the change of ownership of an uncertain future. The approximately 17,000 employees must be prepared for cuts. This coming Thursday will advise the Supervisory Board according to current plans on a restructuring plan. The Austrian investor Rene Benko takes over the control of the troubled company from the previous owner Nicolas Berggruen.
A lot of time should not have Benko in the upcoming decisions. For Karstadt is in crisis for a long time. The company is struggling with red ink and declining sales. Medium term, 15 to 20 houses are closed, writes the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, citing the environment Benko. Before this happen, but the Austrians would examine house by house on profitability.
A spokesman for Benkos Signa Holding did not comment on the report request. The “SZ” information, according to Benko will be valid for ten years or more and invest in the company. He plans to bring brand dealers as additional tenants in most Karstadt stores and remodel to major shopping centers. The “Bild am Sonntag” reported that Benko Karstadt wanted to renovate in the next twelve months, with cuts in all areas
Ausichtsratschef Stephan Fanderl announced a tough restructuring program a month ago. Everything must at Karstadt on the test are provided. The company is doing “legitimate concerns about the profitability” of more than 20 stores, Fanderl had the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” told. But concrete closure decisions give it yet.
On Friday it was announced that the former owner Nicolas Berggruen gives the chain for a Euro to Signa. Earlier this week, will take over the control of the 83 branches of the Austrians. Also Berggruen’s remaining shares in the Karstadt department stores and premium KarstadtSports and brand names go to Signa. The Federal Cartel Office must approve the deal still
The CEO of Signa Retail GmbH, tungsten wedge had announced on Friday. Was most important goal now that the department store group einkehre rest and quickly advise the next steps of a viable recovery strategy would, adopted and implemented. Karstadt had to “get out of the media and the grueling public discussion,” said Wedge.
The Karstadt’s joint and the trade union Verdi had asked the new owner to present the future concept and to show that he willing was to invest adequately in the company. “The employees of Karstadt experience for years a cliffhanger and for a successful repositioning of Karstadt’s valuable time was playful,” it said in a tender announcement on the announcement of the sale.
The German Association of Cities also hopes that the new owner submits a clever concept for the future. “Cities need attractive centers and have a great interest in it to the retail site goes well”, said the chief executive of the Association of Cities, Stephan Articus, with on demand news agency dpa.
“For wear stores to living in inner cities, attract buyers and make use of the retail in their environment, “says Articus on. They are also major employers. In the past, have been found:. “Where stores have to close, often also reduces the shops in the vicinity and can be a quality of life of the population lost”
The German-Americans Berggruen had Karstadt 2010 for the symbolic price of one euro taken out of bankruptcy. Now he sold the chain for a Euro to Benko. In the “Image” (Saturday) admitted Berggruen error in the management of a Karstadt.
At the same time, however, he rejected accusations of having enriched themselves at the company. “The fact is: Karstadt for us was not good business, not only in financial terms but also with regard to my reputation in Germany,” he said. With its complete exit he wanted to make way for a new beginning. “We all know that things can not go on,” he said. / Rad / DP / jha