Several sources confirm that Metro Group’s attempts to sell its Kaufhof chain (including Belgian Inno stores) to the Spanish group El Corte Inglés are finally going the right way.
Joint venture or straight takeover?
In July already, German newspaper Lebensmittel Zeitung reported that talks between the German Metro Group and El Corte Inglés, the largest department store chain in Europe, were “in an advanced stadium”. Now the same newspaper mentions new talks about different solutions, ranging from a joint venture to Metro selling Kaufhof altogether.
Unlike in July, other sources now confirm LZ’s story. Still, a Metro Group spokesman refused to comment on the rumours, saying that Metro Group has always been ready to talk with anyone who is willing to discuss the German and/or European department store markets.
Time is running out
For Metro’s chairman, Eckhard Cordes, time is running out: his contract at Metro ends next year and it is far from certain that his contract will be renewed. Still, Metro’s main shareholder Franz Haniel & Cie, repeatedly expressed its support for Cordes.
El Corte Inglés reached a 2010 turnover of 16.4 billion euro with 100,000 employees spread over 80 Spanish and 2 Portuguese stores. Despite having more stores (124 in Germany and 15 in Belgium), Kaufhof is dwarfed by its Spanish counterpart – its turnover reaching only 3.6 billion euro with 22.000 employees.