French department store chain Galeries Lafayette is to close its only German outlet. The department store on Berlin’s Friedrichstraße opened in 1996, but is paying the price for the group’s financial difficulties following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The department store will remain open until the end of next year, when the current lease expires. The 190 employees will lose their jobs, the Berliner Morgenpost reports. Galeries Lafayette largely attributes its decision to changed consumer behaviour in Germany and major changes in the city’s retail market.
The building on the corner with the aptly named Französische Straße, a parallel street to the much better known Unter den Linden, was one of Galeries Lafayette’s first branches outside France. Currently, the chain still has foreign shops in Beijing, Doha, Dubai, Jakarta, Luxembourg, Shanghai and (since July) Shenzhen.
Billion corona cost Miljard coronakosten
The French department store group suffered heavily from the pandemic, which it claims added more than a billion euros to its costs. In 2021, the chain already franchised eleven French stores to cut costs. Back then, it was still saying that the intervention would benefit international expansion.
Building owner Tishman Speyer will leave no sleep over the departure of its major anchor store: it has set its sights on the Central Library of the State of Berlin. Culture senator Joe Chialo (CDU) is said to have almost 600 million euros to spare for moving the current two locations to Friedrichstraße.