Horten AG

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Horten AG
Type joint-stock company
Industry Retail
Founded Duisburg (1936)
Founder(s) Helmut Horten
Headquarters Düsseldorf, Germany
Divisions department stores (Horten (1936-2004)/ GALERIA Horten (1988-2003) / MERKUR (1945-1988))
smaller department stores (DeFaKa (1936-1973) / Horten extra (1988-1993))
discount department stores (Hanse-SB 1974-1989)
restaurants (bon appetite / KUPFERSPIESS))
Own Brands (Horten, Miss H.)

Horten AG (Aktiengesellschaft) was a German department store chain founded by Helmut Horten in 1936 and headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany.

With up to 80 stores all over Germany, Horten ranked fourth-largest among German department store chains, after Karstadt, Kaufhof and Hertie.

Until 1988, Horten operated some of its department stores under the name of Merkur, some smaller department stores were called DeFaKa (Deutsches Familien Kaufhaus), but they had all been replaced with modern types of Horten department stores until the 1970s. In 1988 Horten introduced a new concept for their department stores, it was called "GALERIA"-concept and proofed to become a very successful venture for the Horten AG. Also in 1988, the Horten AG decided to separate their smaller locations, which should not be branded with the new GALERIA-design, and founded the Horten-Extra GmbH covering its thirteen smallest stores. It was planned to refresh the 39 bigger stores with the GALERIA-Design, but this goal has not been implemented. Horten-Extra was only a small division and ten of these stores were sold to Kaufring AG in 1993. Kaufring AG then re-branded these ten Horten-Extra stores to the fictional name J.Gg. Rupprecht, which had no history of its own. J.Gg. Rupprecht stores were never successful and one of the reasons, Kaufring AG filed for bankruptcy and finally went into liquidation. The few stores never made a profit and subsequently in 2001 all J.Gg. Rupprecht stores were closed, too late to rescue the Kaufring AG. The other three stores of Horten-Extra also did not have successful histories. The location in Dortmund was closed directly after the ten Horten-Extra stores were sold; it was renovated as a mall (Westfalen Forum). The Westfalen-Forum was from its beginning a "dead mall": the first and second floors were finished, but never opened because there were no tenants for those two floors. The basement also closed a year after its opening. The main tenant of the ground floor and basement (Adler fashion) closed in 2006. The other two Horten-Extra stores became part of Kaufhof (Neuss and Schwäbisch Gmünd) and were traded for a few years as Horten again, until the year 2000, when both stores closed because they were considered too small to be renamed Galeria Kaufhof.

The 'Carsch-Haus' in Düsseldorf was the finest department store of the Horten AG and served as kind of a flagship store. It is now run by Kaufhof, but still trading as Carsch-Haus. This store has a very interesting and unique story, as in the 1980s it was dismantled stone by stone and later rebuilt only a few feet away. This became necessary because the 'Rheinbahn' (public transport in Düsseldorf) had planned to build a subway station under the building. After rebuilding, the Carsch-Haus became Horten AG's most modern department store and a model of development for the Galeria-concept.

Horten was one of the most modern German department store companies of the 1960s and 1970s. Many new stores were built while the traditional, long-established high street stores were renovated, modernized, and in some cases, expanded. Horten built the first department stores that included car parks and petrol stations. They wanted to be the target for customers from the suburbs who had their first cars and did not want to travel into the cities by bus or tram. In addition to their large number of high-end downtown department stores, Horten built some new "edge of downtown stores." Every department store featured a restaurant, most located on the top floor. In the 1960s they were called "KUPFERSPIESS" (Copper Kettle). Later, Horten began to reorganise them into self-service-restaurants and called them "Bon appetit" or "Horten-Restaurant," also combined together as "Bon appetit: Ihr Horten-Restaurant." In the 1990s Horten also began introducing the Galeria-concept for its restaurants and gave them a new food distribution sector and a lighter outfit. After Kaufhof took over Horten, they merged their two restaurant companies "Bel-Terine" and "Bon appetit" into one, dubbed "DINEA." Smaller restaurants with less service were called "Grillpfanne."

Horten's dark brown interiors morphed into a more modern and fresh look with the introduction of the new Galeria stores in the 1980s, with an emphasis on lighter colors such as blue, light gray and white. Some of the bigger stores added food courts called "delikatessa" and also added onsite supermarkets. After returning from a visit to the United States and returning with the concept, Helmut Horten opened Germany's first supermarkets in the basement floors of his department stores. They were innovative, modern, and much larger than most German grocery stores at the time.

In 1968 Helmut Horten sold all of his company shares and was never seen at celebrations of the Horten AG (like the 50th anniversary in 1986). Helmut Horten died in 1987, at this time his former company was part of BAT (British-American-Tobacco).

In 1994 competitor Kaufhof took over Horten and - over a ten-year period - all Horten department stores were either renamed Kaufhof, sold or closed. This process ended in 2004 with the last stores being closed or renamed and the Horten name disappeared. Today only one store - the Carsch-Haus in Düssldorf - still has the Horten logo on its facade, struck in stone over the to main doors. The former name "Horten im Carsch-Haus" was done away with in 1996. In 2008 Kaufhof cleaned the Horten stone-logos, and they are now clearly visible on the facade. The store now simply trades as Carsch-Haus and wasn't changed into Kaufhof. A Galeria Kaufhof store is located in the same street.

In 1995 the Horten AG became a real estate company and rented the Horten-stores to Kaufhof. The operating business was transferred to the Horten GALERIA GmbH, which was later merged into the Kaufhof AG.

Many former Horten and Galeria Horten department stores now trade as (Galeria) Kaufhof.

Former Horten Department Stores[edit]

  • Augsburg, (closed in 1987)
  • Aachen, (renovated in 1998, now part of Kaufhof and trading as L store | LUST FOR LIFE)
  • Andernach, (Horten-Extra 1988-1993, sold 1993 to Kaufring AG and renamed as J.Gg. Rupprecht, closed 2001)
  • Baden-Baden, (Horten-Extra 1988-1993, sold and renamed Wagner-Galerie)
  • Bergheim, (Horten-Extra 1988-1993, sold 1993 to Kaufring AG and renamed as J.Gg. Rupprecht, closed 2001, later demolished in 2007)
  • Berlin, (former East Berlin location, renamed Kaufhof in 1995, closed in 2007)
  • Berlin, (Senftenberger Ring, former West Berlin location, closed in 1988, later became Hertie)
  • Bielefeld, (Galeria Horten, renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Bochum-Wattenscheid, (Horten-Extra 1988-1993, sold 1993 to Kaufring AG and renamed as J.Gg. Rupprecht, closed 2001)
  • Braunschweig, (renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Bremen, (renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Bremerhaven, (Merkur 1964-1968, Horten 1968-1996, closed, now Saturn electronic retailer)
  • Cottbus (renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Dessau (closed in 1995, demolished in 2007)
  • Dortmund, (Horten-Extra 1988-1993, closed in 1993)
  • Duisburg, (location Königstraße, first Horten in 1936, later sold to Karstadt, demolished in early 2006)
  • Duisburg, (location Düsseldorfer Straße, renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Duisburg-Marxloh, (Horten-Extra 1988-1993, sold to Kaufring AG and renamed as J.Gg. Rupprecht, closed 2001, later Marxloh-Center mall)
  • Düsseldorf, (location Berliner Allee, renamed Galeria Kaufhof, will close by the end of 2014)
  • Düsseldorf, (location Heinrich-Heine-Allee, Galeria Horten traded as Horten im Carsch-Haus, now part of Kaufhof and still trading as Carsch-Haus)
  • Erlangen, (50th store and one of the last Horten until 2004, renamed Galeria Kaufhof).
  • Essen, (Galeria Horten, renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Frankfurt am Main, (location Hessen-Center mall, opened 1968, closed in 1978)
  • Frankfurt (Oder), (closed, later demolished in 2006)
  • Gera, (closed 2003, this department store was the first HERTIE (Hermann Tietz), Horten was planning to replace it with a new Galeria Horten retail store in a mall on the outskirts of the city. But they had no permit for the city government. The government wanted to keep the store in the city center. Horten then planned in another location, just a few steps from the previous house. The new building was carried out by the Galeria Kaufhof years later. After the completion of the new building, the Horten store was closed and converted into a shopping center. This center, to commemorate the historic name of Oscar Tietz, (who built the HERTIE-store in Gera and was a nephew of Hermann Tietz), is called "DAS tietz" [eng.: the Tietz])
  • Gevelsberg, (Horten-Extra 1988-1993, sold 1993 to Kaufring AG and renamed as J.Gg. Rupprecht, closed 2001)
  • Gotha, (closed in 1995, later sold)
  • Gießen, (last Galeria Horten until 2003, renamed Galeria Kaufhof, closed 16 June 2012)
  • Günthersdorf, (Galeria Horten, renamed Galeria Kaufhof, closed 2010)
  • Hagen, (closed, now part of Kaufhof and first trading as CITY-FACH-MARKT, now Galeria Kaufhof for sports, kids-wear and toys, also Saturn electronic retailer)
  • Halle (Saale), (closed, renamed Kaufhaus Rolltreppe)
  • Hamburg, Eidelstedt (traded as Hanse-SB, closed in 1989)
  • Hamburg, (location Mönckebergstraße, became part of Kaufhof and trading 1999 to 2001 as L store | LUST FOR LIFE, now SATURN. This store of Saturn is the largest consumer electronics retailer in the world with 18,000 m² / 190,000 sq ft)
  • Hamburg-Poppenbüttel, (Galeria Horten, renamed Galeria Kaufhof in 2000, later closed and finally sold)
  • Hamburg-Wandsbek, (closed in 1988, later sold)
  • Hamm, (Sold in 2002 to the Turkish company "yimpas". Yimpas at first ran the department store under the name of Horten; only the supermarket was immediately renamed into yimpas. Yimpas was very hard to continue to be attractive for German customers and employed many German workers, in addition, there were also Turkish-born workers. By 2003 Yimpas had changed the supply of goods so much, that they were no longer possible to run the department store under the brand name Horten, the brand was still in use by Kaufhof for other stores in Germany. After the name change, however, remained more and more German customers away because Yimpas as a department store was previously unknown. The customers preferred the Kaufhof department store, which is just a few steps away. The proximity between the department stores, was also the reason for the sale of the house. The branch in Hamm was being considered for conversion into a Galeria Horten by the end of the 1990s. In spring 2004, the department store section closed and only the yimpas-supermarket in the basement remained open, but this was too expensive for Yimpas. By the end of 2004, also the supermarkt was closed. The house was locked up for over two years and then it was reopened for one day a week before its break for a farewell party. On this day, 200 of the typical Horten-facade elements were available for purchase, the celebration included live music, a flea market and a guided tour through the abandoned upper floors and the large restaurant area, which was closed since 2003, demolished in 2007)
  • Hannover, (Galeria Horten (1991), renamed Galeria Kaufhof (1995))
  • Heidelberg, (in 1988 it became the first Galeria Horten, renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Heidenheim, (Horten-Extra 1988-1993, sold 1993 to Kaufring AG and renamed as J.Gg. Rupprecht, closed 2001)
  • Heilbronn, (renamed Galeria Kauhof)
  • Hildesheim, (renamed Galeria Kafhof)
  • Ingolstadt, (renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Jena, (unfinished department store ruin of the GDR "HO-konsument" was finished by Horten in 1991 (Horten-in-Jena GmbH), closed in 1994, demolished in 2010), could not open as Galeria Horten, because of the small retail space (32,291 sq ft). It was planned to build a large extension to the existing department store, next to the store was a large open space available. But the weak sales of this store led to a quick abandonment of the plans and the store.
  • Kempen, (closed and later sold)
  • Kempten (renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Kiel, (closed in 1989, later sold. In the 1980s, a new Galeria Horten, should be built as a replacement in Kiel, but the strict conditions and delays stopped the plans. The area for the new department store is still lying fallow.)
  • Krefeld, (one of the last Horten department stores until 2004, renamed Kaufhof. The extension into a GALERIA Kaufhof was planned in 2002-2006, therefore the fourth floor should be remodeled as retail space, two escalators should be built (the former storage area in the fourth floor was used sometimes before as special sales area). In 2008, the renovation and plans to reconstruct the store were stopped. Also in 2008 the "Horten Unterwelt" (after 2004: "Kaufhof Unterwelt") was closed, the "Horten/Kaufhof Unterwelt" started in 1998 as kiosk and shop for some special offers, but soon became a cheap goods store. The "Unterwelt" was located in an underground passageway, this passage was planned for a never built subway-system in Krefeld, the name "Unterwelt" [eng.: undergroundworld] was an allusion to the Horten-slogan "Eine Welt voller Ideen" [eng.: "A World full of Ideas"]. The store closed in July 2010. It is planned to redevelop the store in 2012/2013 for SATURN Electronics and PRIMARK.)
  • Leipzig, (closed in 2001, after a new Galeria Kaufhof department store was finished, sold to Karstadt in 2006, demolished in 2011. In 2012 opened the new shopping center "Höfe am Brühl", the characteristic aluminium facade from the former department store was reused. Seen from the outside, this corner of the new Center looks the same, like the old department store, but inside is all new.)
  • Leipzig-Paunsdorf, (Galeria Horten, new built in 1992-1994, renamed Galeria Kaufhof, closed in 2010)
  • Ludwigshafen, (renamed Kaufhof, closed in June 2010)
  • Mannheim, (renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Marburg, (sold)
  • Mülheim an der Ruhr, (closed in 1977)
  • Münster, (Galeria Horten, renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Moers, (closed in 1999, later sold)
  • Neuss, (built as Merkur 1964-1966, Horten 1966-1988, part of Horten-Extra 1988-1994, Horten 1994-1999, 1999 closed and sold, now Tranktor mall. The store in Neuss was the biggest one of the Horten-Extra GmbH and it was never planned to be renamed into Galeria Horten. With the day of renaming Kaufhof in Neuss into Galeria Kaufhof, the Horten was closed.)
  • Nürnberg, (one of the last Horten department stores until 2004, renamed Kaufhof, closed 16 June 2012)
  • Oldenburg, (renovation and remodeling once were started to rename this Horten-store, into Galeria Horten, but it was renamed Galeria Kaufhof in 1995, so it became the first Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Osnabrück, (it was the last store of Horten, renamed into Galeria Horten, but it was still a few weeks ago renamed Galeria Kaufhof in 1995, so it became the second Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Pforzheim, (renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Pirmasens, (Horten-Extra 1988-1993, sold 1993 to Kaufring AG and was renamed as J.Gg. Rupprecht, closed 2001, later sold to H&M)
  • Plauen (closed in December 2000, later sold)
  • Potsdam (closed in 1996 after a fire, later sold to Karstadt)
  • Recklinghausen, (traded as Hanse-SB, closed in 1988, then Löhrhof mall, closed and demolished in 2012)
  • Regensburg, (renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Reutlingen, (Galeria Horten, renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Schwäbisch Gmünd, (Horten 1972-1988, Horten-Extra 1988-1993, traded as Horten 1994-2000, but was part of Kaufhof Mode&Sport, closed in 2000, later demolished)
  • Schweinfurt, (renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Stuttgart, (Galeria Horten, renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Stralsund (closed in 1994)
  • Sulzbach, (Galeria Horten, location Main-Taunus-Zentrum mall, renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Trier, (renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Ulm, (renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Viersen, (the prototype-store for Horten-Extra in 1987, part of Horten-Extra GmbH 1988-1993, sold 1993 to Kaufring AG and renamed as J.Gg. Rupprecht, closed 2001, later demolished)
  • Weimar, (Horten-in-Weimar GmbH, smallest Horten-store with 13,993 sq ft, 1991-1995)
  • Wetzlar, (Horten-Extra 1988-1993, sold 1993 to Kaufring AG and renamed as J.Gg. Rupprecht, closed 2001)
  • Wiesbaden, (Galeria Horten renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Witten, (renamed Galeria Kaufhof)
  • Worms, (Horten-Extra 1988-1993, sold 1993 to Kaufring AG and renamed as J.Gg. Rupprecht, closed 2001)
  • Wuppertal, (closed, now TK maxx)
  • Zwickau (closed)