Munich: The last days of Karstadt am Nordbad – Munich

This is called eviscerated. Empty showcases, empty shelves, the silver clothes racks have been pushed aside. “One more day” is written on the wide entrance portal of Karstadt am Nordbad, and one can assume that every employee here who holds his position as brave as it is final is in a strange mood. A customer asks whether it is possible to get parts of the furniture. Another says that she was there when the West Schwabing department store opened. It was 1968, at that time the concrete fortress still looked rather futuristic between the old buildings around the north bath, which was decorated with a portico.

It’s now closing time – forever. The Karstadt am Nordbad closes after more than half a century. With him, the Karstadt closes in the Olympia shopping center – although there is a department store of the same group in the immediate vicinity, similar to the previously rescued Kaufhof on Stachus. The Karstadt am Nordbad is far and wide the only one of its kind. Officially, this Saturday is the last day of sale. In the three-story bunker, however, there is very little that could attract customers. A garish discount campaign – the advertising banners are still hanging on the facade – has long since emptied shelves, clothes racks and freezers.

The upper floor is already locked, there is nothing left to stumble upon. Employees run around pushing furniture back and forth. In the now void it becomes clear how huge the surfaces actually are. Everything is still brightly lit and the escalators are in operation. Soon, when it is cleared out, all of this will be empty and gloomy, as a demolished house. A strange idea.

The sausage counter in the basement is still occupied, there is no more fish. There are occasional groceries on the shelves. Vinegar, wine, spices and sweets. A couple of huge Advent wreaths are waiting for the last bargain buyers. The freezers have already been cleared.

The end of the Karstadt branch at Nordbad is affecting many residents.

(Photo: Alessandra Schellnegger)

Outside on Schleissheimer Strasse, on a pane of glass, there is a protest sticker: “The Benkos expropriate”, it says. In reference to the Austrian investor to whom Karstadt and Kaufhof have belonged for some time. On the glass entrance doors there is a note of solidarity from a “sad old customer”, as the clerk himself put it. The closure is a severe blow for Schwabing.

For decades, the department store, located directly on Nordbad, was a central point of contact when there was something to be found quickly that you would otherwise have to drive to the city center for. Where you could buy a Christmas tree at the last minute on Christmas Eve. Where, when the shop opening hours were still more strictly regulated, there was still pork schnitzel when the other supermarkets were already closed.

Of course, the closure of the once so important contact point is also a symbol of the change in the consumer world. The department stores suffer like hardly anyone else from the trend to shop digitally – in the better times of the Karstadt am Nordbad it was rather frowned upon to constantly besiege your own couch and do everything from home. Although there was already a mail order business back then, but it had an even more stuffy reputation than the department stores. All of that has changed.

The long-established Karstadt am Nordbad closes forever.

(Photo: Alessandra Schellnegger)

The Schwabinger have started a rescue attempt. A residents’ initiative collected signatures for the preservation of the district meeting point, and Ruth Waldmann (SPD) member of the state parliament initiated an online petition. And also reminded of the fate of the many Karstadt employees who are now threatened with unemployment. It was all of no use. In the farewell letter from the workforce, which is taped outside on the front door, it is now a reminder where a good place is for recruiting: here.


Many property owners no longer give department stores a chance

Munich, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt Large red and yellow posters in the shop windows announce: “We are closing this branch. Everything has to come out. ”As if the passers-by hurrying across the market square of Mönchengladbach-Rheydt on this cool and rainy morning at the end of September had long since not known that the Karstadt branch will finally close its doors in a few days.

Inside, the British service provider Gordon Brothers has taken over the regiment. As in 41 other branches of Kaufhof and Karstadt, the company specializing in merchandise recycling has the task of silvering the inventory with maximum profit. The Karstadt employees have long since received their notice and have been relegated to extras. On October 17th, Gordon Brothers will hand over the property swept clean to the landlord.

The city that owns the property tried to persuade Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof to continue with a temporary rent reduction. But Ulrich Schückhaus, the managing director of the urban development company, takes the company’s decision calmly. “It’s a shame for Rheydt that Karstadt is closing, but the timing of this decision couldn’t have been more favorable for us,” he says.

Because the city of Mönchengladbach has big plans for the property. The building, in which parts of the administration are already housed, is to be partially demolished. A new town hall is being built there – combined with retail space. “We will concentrate the entire city administration of Mönchengladbach, which is now spread over 28 locations, in the new building in Rheydt,” says economic developer Schückhaus. 1900 employees will find their jobs there. This should revive the Rheydt district and bring more visitor frequency.

The prerequisite for the tender was that the Karstadt house had to remain open during the entire renovation. The closure will now make this much easier, ”explains Schückhaus. The planning has already been adjusted: instead of men’s and women’s fashion, additional administrative offices will be located on the first floor.

In the future, the ground floor is to be a kind of small inner-city shopping center with several shops. This is exactly how the city rebuilt the basement years ago. There, Aldi and Rossmann, among others, took up space formerly used by Karstadt.

Rene Benko

Signa boss and his company are affected by Kaufhof closings.

(Photo: dpa)

In many German inner cities, the insolvency of Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof has lost an important point of attraction for shopping customers. Even the financial support of the Galeria owner, the Signa-Holding of the Austrian investor René Benko, could not prevent a large part of the houses from being closed after the conclusion of the bankruptcy proceedings, most of them during the course of this month.

New ideas for department store properties are now needed at 42 locations. But in very few cases the landlord and the city have such clear ideas as in Mönchengladbach. Finding a new use for aging department stores is not easy.

The misery of department stores has been looming for a long time

Usually the owners tried at all costs to persuade Galeria to stay. Like at Munich’s Stachus. There, the main landlord, the entrepreneurial family Zechbauer, waived 92.5 percent of the rent by their own account. In return, the Kaufhof will remain open for two years. The gallows period gives the owner the chance to calmly look for a new use for the property.

The insolvency gave Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof the opportunity to terminate rental contracts at short notice. The company had justified its imbalance with the consequences of the pandemic and the associated loss of sales for the department stores.

Experts see deeper causes. “Even without the pandemic, we would inevitably have seen more closings – but around two to three per year and not 42 in one fell swoop,” says Joachim Stumpf from the retail consultancy BBE, which creates concepts for the reuse of large retail properties for investors. “We are experiencing a structural change in the retail sector, the department store operating mode is under great competitive pressure,” emphasizes Stumpf.

In fact, the misery has been brewing for a long time. According to figures from the Federal Statistical Office, department stores in Germany lost 42 percent of their sales in the 20 years from 1999 to 2019. In contrast, online trading increased sales by 120 percent in the same period.

At the beginning of the 1990s, the four large department store companies Hertie, Horten, Kaufhof and Karstadt still operated 375 locations. Today Hertie and Horten are history, Karstadt and Kaufhof have merged and after the current closings will still have 130 stores.

A study by the consulting firm PwC shows that the classic department store has basically survived. It examines what has become of 52 department store locations that have been closed since 2009. The result: Almost all properties had to be converted, some even demolished so that they could be used again. And the largest part was no longer used as a pure retail location, but in a mixed use with living space, offices or restaurants.

And it was precisely this mixed use that turned out to be the superior concept: a third of the pure retail solutions had to close again. The mix-use concepts, on the other hand, are all still in operation today.

Lots of capital in the market

The real estate entrepreneur Eckhard Brockhoff, for example, showed what can be done with an old Karstadt location. Together with two partners, he bought a department store in Essen-Rüttenscheid a few years ago, demolished it and erected a commercial building on the same site. “Today five times as many people work there as in the past,” says Brockhoff, who sees himself as the largest regional commercial broker in Germany. In the basement there is now a modern Edeka branch, above which Aldi, Deichmann, DM and the star chef Nelson Müller are among the tenants. There are offices on the upper floors.

Brockhoff is convinced that “this can be applied to many cities and locations”. Because most department stores are in good locations. It just has to be invested. Despite Corona, now is a good time to sell the closed department stores, Brockhoff is convinced. There are currently few projects in the market, but all the more capital looking for investment opportunities.

In order to fight the department stores, Brockhoff believes it is wrong: “A dead horse is being ridden.” Rather, the cities would have to think fundamentally about their centers. “There is currently too much retail trade”, criticizes the real estate specialist.

“The municipalities have a vital interest in what happens to the abandoned department stores,” warns retail expert Stumpf. “For many cities there is now a historic opportunity to revitalize the inner city.” To do this, however, they would have to develop a clear strategy and quickly enter into a dialogue with the owners. “But that is precisely what is lacking in many municipalities,” observes Stumpf in practice.

“Right now is the worst possible time to re-let to dealers”, says Lars Jähnichen, managing director of the real estate service provider IPH Handelsimmobilien. Very few retailers are willing to expand at the moment. That is why there is usually a mix of retail, offices, living and culture now available. “Areas for city logistics should also be a big topic,” he emphasizes.


The biggest problem for the owners is that they often still had a long-term rental contract, but have now been given notice almost overnight. “The landlords need some time to prepare for the subsequent use,” explains Jähnichen.

This is exemplified in Frankfurt. The end of the traditional Karstadt store on the Zeil shopping mile already seemed sealed: the end of October should be over, the letters of resignation to the approximately 240 employees had long been out, and the goods had started to be sold. But the workforce did not give up: They fought for their jobs and their department store for weeks – and also brought in the landlord of the property, Albert Sahle. That turned out to be a smart move, at least in the short term: Because operations continue in the Frankfurt branch.

Rent extensions to save time

The owner Sahle Wohnen from Greven in North Rhine-Westphalia actually specializes in apartments, but the company also owns some commercial properties – and for around eight years also has the Frankfurt Karstadt branch. The fact that Karstadt was part of the deal as a tenant at the time was not the decisive factor for him, says Albert Sahle: “We acquired the building under the aspect that we would do a project development after the lease expired, that is more lucrative.”

This project is now within our grasp. Although he extended the lease with Karstadt until January 2025 and cut the rent by a good half – but then the house will be razed to the ground. The plans for this are not ready yet. But the 65-year-old can describe his ideas straight away: He wants to build a new three-story building with a supermarket in the basement, a drugstore or textile retailer on the ground floor and first floor, and a hotel is to be built above it.

He says he will soon be holding talks with the city, talking to potential tenants and obtaining building permits. But all of that takes time: “I need to run ahead before I can let the excavator roll in,” he says. If Karstadt had now closed, it would have been vacant for two years. “I have now offered the Karstadt people these two years as a rent reduction,” he calculates.

Karstadt and Kaufhof branches in Düsseldorf

Even the Galeria-Karstadt-Kaufhof owner Signa is relying on mixed quarters rather than large department stores for the future. The real estate subsidiary Signa Prime Selection has 36 previous Karstadt and Kaufhof stores in its portfolio, six of which, according to corporate circles, have now been terminated in the course of the department store operator’s bankruptcy.

“When deciding on closings, the trustee of Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof took no account of who is the owner of the property,” says Timo Herzberg, Germany boss of the Signa real estate subsidiary, in an interview with the Handelsblatt. The fact that only relatively few locations were given notice by the sister company is due to the fact that the properties are “primarily in the top locations”, Herzberg asserts.

When it comes to new developments, Signa no longer relies on pure trade, but on diversified use. The best example is Düsseldorf, where Signa owns the now closing Kaufhof am Werhahn. The company has already presented the city with ideas for a change in use there. “We envision a mixed-use property with restaurants, small-scale retail, offices, apartments and a park – all of this with a redensification through a high-rise,” explains Herzberg.

“The department stores that are now being closed are almost exclusively in good locations,” emphasizes real estate expert Jähnichen. “There is no one-size-fits-all solution for the real estate, but there are good chances for each of the locations to develop a new future concept.” One thing is clear: there will no longer be traditional department stores.

More: Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof is leaving the bankruptcy proceedings.


Signa board member Timo Herzberg: “Inner city remains center of life”

Timo Herzberg, Head of Signa Real Estate Germany

“It would be naive to believe that our inner cities could now be rebuilt in no time at all.”

(Photo: DAVIDS / Darmer)

The company empire of the Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof owner René Benko also includes shares in a real estate company, Signa Prime Selection. This also holds properties in which Karstadt-Kaufhof is – or was a tenant. Signa board member Timo Herzberg is responsible for real estate business in Germany. In an interview with the Handelsblatt, the 44-year-old explains his suggestions for revitalizing the city centers.

Why is the impact of the pandemic hitting cities so hard?
Especially in March and April, people in the metropolitan areas made short-term changes to their lifestyle. The questions we are now facing are basically nothing new. The change in city centers, the development of office work environments, the change in retail – these are all processes that have been going on for a long time. The corona crisis only accelerates the process.

Experts say it is now a matter of filling the gaps left by business closings in city centers. How can this be done?
It would be naive to believe that our inner cities could now be rebuilt in no time at all. But the question of what we expect from our inner cities in the future is very legitimate. It is a fundamental challenge: You have to recognize developments early on and approach them conceptually. We have to continuously invest in cities in order to transform them and thus maintain their attraction and vital function in the future.

What should that look like?
Attractive retail trade with new hybrid forms, offers from the cultural sector, from the catering trade. It’s about connecting work and leisure worlds. The inner city is and will remain the center of life. Above all, this requires new ways of thinking, for example when it comes to transport infrastructure. Here we have to reflect on all societal and social developments.

Who do you see as responsible?
The cities and the owners must work together to create the right framework conditions for the users of the inner cities. Administration and politics need the right strategy here. And when guidelines are being developed, those who are to implement them, i.e. the property owners, must be as involved as the public. This is often still missing today. We offer our support with the aim of creating sustainable and attractive inner cities. Because that is the point of view of an investor who remains involved in the city for 50, 60 or 70 years.


What do you want to contribute as the owner of the property?
Every investor who projects downtown projects and develops neighborhoods like we do has an essential social responsibility for the city. And we want to live up to that. We are ready to coordinate with the public and the administration on the right level for the mix of uses and to come to a conclusion. This of course means that it is economically balanced, because we can only invest if the investment pays off. To convey this dual tone is challenging.

More: Karstadt and Kaufhof are going on the offensive with a new management.

Click here for Handelsblatt Inside Real Estate, the exclusive specialist briefing on the future of the real estate industry.


Rescue plan decided by Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof

Clear the way for the restructuring – but at a high price: The creditors of Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof have accepted the insolvency plan. Thousands of employees are now losing their jobs.

Photo series with 12 pictures

Germany’s last large department store chain Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof (GKK) gets another chance. The creditors’ meeting of the department store group approved the insolvency plan on Tuesday, which is supposed to save the traditional company.

In an employee letter sent after the creditors said yes, GKK boss Miguel Müllenbach said: “Today is the starting shot for a new beginning, because our company now has a healthy basis again and the prospect of a secure future.”

According to the plans of the company’s management, the bankruptcy procedure should be completed this month. Müllenbach emphasized that the department store giant could then presumably face the competition for customers again in October without any bankruptcy restrictions and debt-free. “We will then be stronger and better positioned than before the Corona crisis, which is expected to put some companies in trouble as early as the autumn that, unlike us, are heavily in debt.”

Suppliers and landlords lose a lot of money by making decisions

For the creditors, however, the move means foregoing a large part of the money that the department store group still owes them. Overall, the suppliers, landlords and other creditors have to forego more than two billion euros.

The renovation also demands great sacrifices from the employees. Because the new beginning means the end of almost 50 department stores, which the company management believes no longer have any prospects – and the move means the loss of jobs for around 5,000 employees. The sell-out has already begun in many of the department stores affected. Many municipalities also fear that the closure of department stores will make their pedestrian zones less attractive.

Despite the high financial losses, the creditors had little choice but to agree to the plan. Because if the bankruptcy plan had been rejected, they would probably not have seen any of their money again. On the other hand, if they continue, they can at least expect to get almost 5 percent of their claims paid – also thanks to a three-digit million grant from GKK owner René Benko.

Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof: Billions loss due to Corona

Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof had got into a serious crisis due to the corona-related closure of all branches and had to seek rescue in a protective shield procedure at the beginning of April. The company reported at the time that it was expecting a loss of one billion euros in sales this year alone due to Corona.

In mid-June, the department store giant announced that it would close a total of 62 of the 172 department stores as part of its redevelopment plans. Thanks to concessions from landlords and help from local authorities, it has since been possible to reduce the number of branches that have been closed to 46. Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof is now hoping for a relatively quick recovery through the redevelopment plan.


Essen: Decision made in favor of Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof – the group is saved

Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof in Essen saved after a long discussion

The meeting lasted over seven hours. A result was actually expected by noon. But the creditors did not make the decision easy for themselves. A lot of money is at stake for them. You are now giving up a total of 2.2 billion euros. The restructuring plan had been fighting for months, it also means that almost 6,000 jobs and 50 branches of the group will close.

Kaufhof on Willy-Brandt-Platz and Karstadt Sports in Limbecker Platz in Essen are also affected. They will close in October. The Karstadt branch in Limbecker Platz was only saved after renegotiating the rent. The Verdi union had also advised approving the restructuring plan. Losing the 5,900 jobs is better than losing them all, a spokesman told our Radio Essen city reporter before the meeting.

Creditors' meeting Galeria Karstadt-Kaufhof to decide on the future at Messe Essen.
Creditors’ meeting Galeria Karstadt-Kaufhof to decide on the future at Messe Essen.© Radio Essen / Kostas Mitsalis

Creditors’ meeting Galeria Karstadt-Kaufhof to decide on the future at Messe Essen.

© Radio Essen / Kostas Mitsalis

Essen: Creditors of Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof forego a lot of money

With the decision to approve the restructuring plan, the creditors waived a large part of their claims. In total, it is a sum of over 2 billion euros. In addition, the creditors blessed the downsizing and the branch closings. Around 50 branches will close nationwide. Jobs are also being saved at the corporate headquarters in Schuir on the Bredeney border. In contrast, the focus is on logistics in Vogelheim.

Creditors' meeting Galeria Karstadt-Kaufhof to decide on the future at Messe Essen.
Creditors from Galeria Karstadt-Kaufhof before the decision on the future before Messe Essen.© Radio Essen / Kostas Mitsalis

Creditors from Galeria Karstadt-Kaufhof before the decision on the future before Messe Essen.

© Radio Essen / Kostas Mitsalis

Creditors’ meeting in the largest exhibition hall in Essen

The Essen district court had rented the largest exhibition hall for the creditors’ meeting under corona conditions. This is Hall 3. The meeting was not open to the public. Our Radio Essen city reporter was there. In 2009 there was a similarly large creditors’ meeting in Essen. That was the one for Arcandor, the Karstadt mother at the time. The Grugahalle was used for this at the time.

More news from Essen


Karstadt Kaufhof closes six houses less

Essen It was a good day for 750 Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof employees and half a dozen cities in Germany. After tough negotiations with the landlords, the department store group announced on Friday that it wanted to close six branches less than originally planned. Other municipalities are now hoping to prevent the end of endangered department stores in their shopping streets at the last minute.

The background: According to the landlord’s concessions, Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof (GKK) only wants to close 56 department stores instead of 62. In a letter to employees, the Galeria management chairman, Miguel Müllenbach, said that in difficult negotiations, the economic framework for the Karstadt department stores in Dortmund, Goslar, Nuremberg, Lorenzkirche and Potsdam, as well as the Kaufhof branches in Chemnitz and Leverkusen, had been successful to improve that the branches could continue.

Müllenbach himself led the negotiating team. Around 750 employees will keep their jobs by continuing to run the stores.

However, given the high rents and socio-demographic location disadvantages, there is no positive news for the remaining 56 department stores on the closure list, Manager wrote. There is still no economic prospect here.

Nevertheless, the announcement of the group raised hope at other department store locations threatened by closure. The North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) made the issue a top priority and announced that in discussions with the company management they would like to press for further locations in the most populous federal state. “Maintaining a competitive retail business is of enormous importance for many municipalities and, above all, numerous employees. Every fight is worth it here, ”he said.

Mayors announce further initiatives

The Verdi union spoke of a “stage success”. “Everything that is necessary must now be done to give other branches a perspective,” emphasized Orhan Akman, head of the German retail group.

Jürgen Ettl, head of the General Works Council, also announced that he would continue to struggle for every branch. City leaders such as Düsseldorf’s Mayor Thomas Geisel (SPD) and Essen’s Mayor Thomas Kufen (CDU) announced further initiatives to keep the department stores there.

Karstadt in Dortmund

In many municipalities affected, the department store group’s plans to close caused concern that the city centers would become deserted.

(Photo: dpa)

Just two weeks ago, the retail giant had announced the closure of a total of 62 branches in 47 cities, to the dismay of many employees and the affected municipalities. A little later it became known that the group also wants to close 20 out of 30 branches of the subsidiary Karstadt Sports and up to 24 branches of Karstadt Feinkost.

In his letter to the employees, Müllenbach emphasized that the corona crisis and the official closings had “brought the department store group into an existential exceptional situation”. At the beginning of April, the company had sought rescue in a protective shield procedure, but has since become a self-administered bankruptcy procedure. The company expects the pandemic and the economic downturn that it triggers to result in sales of up to 1.4 billion euros by the end of 2022.

In many municipalities affected, the department store group’s plans to close caused concern that the city centers would become deserted. The Vice President of the German Association of Cities, Markus Lewe, said: “The massive closings of branches at Karstadt Kaufhof are a deep cut for the cities concerned. With these department stores, a place of supply and encounter is lost. “

More: Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof and the sadness of the city centers.


Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof: These six department stores are now still open

economy Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof

These six department stores are not closing now

| Reading time: 2 minutes

Closure of six threatened branches averted

The ailing chain of department stores Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof does not close six threatened branches with a total of 750 employees. These are the locations.

The announcement to close 62 branches had caused horror at Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof. Now those responsible have decided to leave some of the houses open for the time being.

DGermany’s last major department store group Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof (GKK) wants to close six branches less than originally planned, according to the landlord’s concessions.

For the Karstadt department stores in Dortmund, Nuremberg Lorenzkirche, Goslar and Potsdam and the Kaufhof branches in Chemnitz and Leverkusen, there is now a future perspective again, said the CEO Miguel Müllenbach in an employee letter on Friday. As a result, around 750 employees keep their jobs.

In difficult negotiations, it was possible to adjust the economic framework in such a way that the branches could be continued, emphasized the manager, who led the negotiation team himself. For the remaining 56 department stores on the closure list, however, given the high rents and socio-demographic location disadvantages, “there is still no prospect of economic continuation”.

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According to experts, gastronomy is one of the areas particularly at risk of bankruptcy

Just two weeks ago, the retail giant had announced the closure of a total of 62 branches in 47 cities, to the dismay of many employees and the affected municipalities. At that time, GKK’s general representative Arndt Geiwitz emphasized: “This step is without an alternative because these branches endanger the entire existence of the company.” A little later it became known that the group also owned 20 out of 30 branches of the subsidiary Karstadt Sports and up to 24 branches of Karstadt Wants to close delicatessen.

“Place of care and encounter is lost”

In many of the municipalities affected, the announcements raised concerns about the desolation of inner cities. The Vice President of the German Association of Cities, Markus Lewe, said: “The massive closings of branches at Karstadt Kaufhof are a deep cut for the cities concerned. With these department stores, a place of supply and encounter is lost. “

Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof had suffered a severe crisis due to the pandemic closure of all branches and had to seek rescue in a protective shield procedure in early April. The company expects the pandemic and the economic downturn that it triggers to result in sales of up to 1.4 billion euros by the end of 2022.


Agreement with Verdi: every second Karstadt delicatessen remains

The department store group Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof has to flee under a protective shield. Every third department store will close. Around 50 of 50 branches remain in the delicatessen division. But there could be more.

The union Verdi has agreed with Karstadt Feinkost GmbH on a social wage agreement. “At least 26 branches have been preserved and there is hope for four more branches,” said ver.di federal group leader Orhan Akman. It is bitter that locations will still be closed and 637 employees will lose their jobs.

However, the collective agreement ensures the best possible protection for the employees affected by the dismissal. Likewise, job security had been agreed for those who continued to work. According to Verdi, around 2100 employees work in 50 branches at Karstadt Feinkost. So far, no communication has been received from the company.

A legal right to join an employment and qualification society (BQG) followed by a six-month employment relationship was agreed for the employees affected by job loss. A possible continuation of the four branches would reduce the number of employees who lose their jobs.

The department store group Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof had to seek rescue in a protective shield procedure in early April in view of the drop in sales due to the corona crisis. Most recently, he announced that 62 of 172 department stores would be closed and several thousand jobs would be cut. Karstadt Sports plans to drop 20 out of 30 branches.


Sportscheck has to limit space in Hamburg

SportScheck branch

The company must limit its area in Hamburg to 800 square meters.

(Photo: dpa)

Hamburg The Karstadt and Kaufhof branches in the capital are allowed to reopen all over again after a decision by the Berlin administrative court. A court spokesman confirmed this on request.

Shortly before, the same court had also opened the entire sales area in a rush procedure in the case of the Berlin department store KaDeWe. The houses all belong to the Austrian Signa holding company of the investor René Benko. They had taken legal action against the regulation, which stipulates that businesses apart from the food trade may only open up to 800 square meters in the crisis.

The KaDeWe had criticized this regulation in court as “arbitrary and disproportionate”. The judges disagreed with this view. The 800 square meter restriction is not arbitrary, because a larger customer flow can be expected from this size. However, they criticized that, unlike the large department stores, shopping centers should be able to open across the entire area because the regulations apply to every store.

The decision of the administrative court can be appealed to the Higher Administrative Court of Berlin-Brandenburg (OVG). The OVG had approved the 800 square meter rule for Brandenburg on the previous day, rejecting similar objections from other department stores.

In Hamburg, the Higher Administrative Court again received the decision of the lower court from last week on Thursday. According to the judges’ verdict, it remains that large shops in Hamburg are allowed to offer their products and services on a maximum area of ​​800 square meters. The Kaufhof subsidiary Sportscheck had taken legal action against this.

Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof had also submitted an urgent request in North Rhine-Westphalia, but failed on Thursday before the Higher Administrative Court in Münster.

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