Cologne / Bonn –
NRW Minister for Economic Affairs Andreas Pinkwart (FDP) described the decision to free the merger between Karstadt and Kaufhof as a "good news": "The merger is suitable for the future profitability of department stores: they can increase their competitiveness and attractiveness, "said Minister. Assumes that the company takes into account the concerns of employees in their decisions: "We will pay close attention to this in the coming weeks and months and we are in close cooperation with everyone involved," says Pinkwart.
As part of its investigation, the Bundeskartellamt examined about 100 commercial companies and dealers, including the largest online retailers and brick and mortar dealers in Germany. The categories of baggage (suitcases / bags), laundry, sports / outdoor, toys / toys, home and office textiles and stationery items were examined in more detail. The market position of Kaufhof and Karstadt is the strongest in these categories, the office justifies its selection. According to the survey, which was completed ahead of schedule, the merger "has not raised any competition problems that would justify a project ban".
The merger is expected to take place at the end of this month – and therefore in time for Christmas affairs. The Karstadt Signa dam will hold a 50.01% stake in the new joint venture, HBC 49.99%. The helm of the new Warenhaus AG will be replaced by Stephan Fanderl, a trade expert who has restructured Karstadt and still manages it. The new department store giant, with a turnover of almost five billion euros behind the El Corte Inglés chain from Spain, the number two in Europe. The new company employs 32,000 people in 243 locations in Europe.
The pooling of purchasing power could allow Kaufhof and Karstadt to negotiate better terms with their suppliers than before. Furthermore, according to industry experts in administration, data processing and logistics, there could be more savings. It has not yet been decided whether the future company headquarters in Cologne (Kaufhof) or Essen (Karstadt) will be.
Furthermore, it is not clear how many jobs will be lost in the new company. The self-produced 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. Closures of dreaded branches associated with a desolation of internal cities. But with a wave of closures soon after the acquisition is probably not expected. According to experts, the costs would be too high for rent, which often last for decades.