Cologne / Bonn –
NRW Economy Minister Andreas Pinkwart (FDP) described the cartel office's decision to release the merger between Karstadt and Kaufhof as "good news": "This merger is very suitable for the future feasibility of department stores: they can increase their competitiveness and appeal," he said. Minister. He went on to assume that the company took into account employees' concerns in their decision: "We will pay attention to this in the coming weeks and months and in close exchange with all involved," Pinkwart said.
As part of its investigation, Bundeskartellamt surveyed around 100 trading companies and traders, including the largest online retailer and brick-and-mortar retailer in Germany. Categories of luggage (luggage / bags), laundry, sports / outdoor, games / toys, home and office textiles and stationery are examined in more detail. The market position of Kaufhof and Karstadt is the strongest in this category, the office justifies its election. According to the investigation, which was completed earlier than expected, the merger "did not raise competition concerns that would justify the project ban".
It is hoped that the merger will take place later this month – and thus in time for the Christmas business. The Karstadt Signa Dam will hold a 50.01 percent stake in the new joint venture, HBC 49.99 percent. The helmet at the new Warenhaus AG will be taken over by Stephan Fanderl, a proven trade expert who has renovated Karstadt and is still managing it. The new giant department store company, with a turnover of nearly five billion euros behind the El Corte Inglés chain from Spain, number two in Europe. The new company employs 32,000 people in 243 locations in Europe.
Unification of purchasing power can enable Kaufhof and Karstadt to negotiate better terms with their suppliers than before. In addition, according to industry experts in administration, data processing and logistics, there may be greater savings. It has not yet been decided whether the future corporate headquarters in Cologne (Kaufhof) or Essen (Karstadt) will be.
It is also unclear how much work will be lost in the new company. Austrian billionaire René Benko, who bought Karstadt for one euro in 2014, described speculation that up to 5,000 jobs were threatened as "irresponsible."
In many cities there are still riots. The branch closure is feared and is related to the destruction of inner cities. But with a wave of closure right after takeover it might not be expected. According to experts, the costs will be too high given the rent, which often lasts for decades.