BONNGermany gets a new department store giant: The Federal Cartel Office has given the green light to the Karstadt and Kaufhof mergers. Antitrust President Andreas Mundt said on Friday in Bonn: "We have projects that are intensively studied. Both from the perspective of consumers, as well as from the point of view of producers and suppliers, there are fears of extraordinary competition." Karstadt and Kaufhof do not only have many competitors in the stationary business. Online trading also creates additional competitive pressure.
The new retail giant will have 243 locations across Europe and employ around 32,000 people. Under the umbrella of a new holding, not only Germany Kaufhof and the Karstadt branch will unite, but also the Karstadt sports shops, European branches of the Saks Off 5th outlet chain, Galeria Inno department store in Belgium, which was recently established by Toko- Hudson & # 39; s Bay department store in the Netherlands and a number of internet providers.
For employees, the decision was not taken without concern because of the threat of layoffs. The chairman of the general board of Karstadt Jürgen Ettl urged owners and management to do everything possible to protect the work of all employees. Especially in cities, where there are department stores from both brands close, now smart solutions are in demand.
Also the municipality observes developments with mixed feelings. "The cities are interested in" that after the merger maybe all department store locations will remain, "said CEO of City Day, Helmut Dedy. Because large department stores are important for the attraction of inner cities. Nor Norbert Portz of the city federation and community appealed to companies to prevent "termination" in inner cities.
What will be brought about by integration into workers and society is still very uncertain at this time. Also there are no expected numbers of job losses, nor are there indications of possible closure. However, Karstadt owner René Benko recently tried to dampen fears of drastic cuts: "Of course we need to rehabilitate, but we will fight for each branch and try to put them in black," he said.
This merger was born out of necessity. Over the years, Kaufhof and Karstadt have made low-price victory parade providers such as Primark and online retailers such as Amazon or Zalando, but also competition for large shopping centers. From mergers, both chains hope to improve their competitive position. Purchasing power bundling must allow Kaufhof and Karstadt to get better conditions from suppliers. In addition, according to industry experts in administration, data processing and logistics, a large amount of money can be saved. The new department store giant will be led by former Karstadt boss Stephan Fanderl.
The owner of Kaufhof HBC stressed after the decision of the antitrust authorities that the merger created conditions for both companies to strengthen business and control the challenges in the German retail sector. Initially there were no comments received from the signing of the Karstadt owner Benko.