Karstadt-Kaufhof merger already cost 2600 jobs


The two German department store chains are reorganising their central services and cutting jobs in the stores, although no outlets will be closed for now. The subsidiaries in the Benelux remain safe for the time being.


“Not viable”

After the merger, the department store group will put the majority of central services under the auspice of the Karstadt main office in Essen. These include management and services such as purchases, sales and marketing. This does not imply a complete reorganisation of the Kaufhof main office: the digital services, the food and catering activities and parts of accounting will move to Cologne or stay there. In total, about a thousand jobs will be lost at the central services. Add to that another 1600 jobs in the stores, and since those are often part-time, a total of four to five thousand people will be dismissed. All stores will remain open, though.

The restructuring is necessary to bring Galeria Kaufhof's expenses down to a competitive level, according to a statement from Karstadt. "In its current condition, the Galeria Kaufhof isn't viable in the long run," says Stephan Fanderl, in charge of the joint venture. It's not clear right now how the restructurings will impact the Galeria Inno department stores in Belgium and Hudson's Bay in the Netherlands. "No jobs are on the line here," said Inno spokeswoman Martine Baetslé in reply to De Tijd. "Galeria Inno is one of the most profitable divisions of the group. The restructurings will only impact the German activities."

The department store chains merged in 2018: Kaufhof, property of Canadian group Hudson's Bay, had been loss-making for years. In the merger group, Karstadt's owner Signa Holding has a symbolic majority interest of 50.01 percent.