Karstadt

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Karstadt Warenhaus GmbH
Type GmbH
Industry Retail
Founded 1881
Founder(s) Rudolph Karstadt
Headquarters Essen, Germany
Key people Miguel Müllenbach
Operating income € 2,673 million (2013)[1]
Net income €1,254 million (2011)[2]
Owner(s) SIGNA Holding Retail GmbH [3]
Employees 16,545
Website www.karstadt.de

Karstadt is a chain of upmarket department stores in Germany. The first Karstadt store was opened by Rudolph Karstadt, on 14 May 1881 in Wismar. The full name of the first store was Tuch-, Manufactur- und Konfektionsgeschäft Karstadt (Fabric/Textiles, Manufacture, and retail clothing Karstadt). The reason that led to Karstadt's initial success, were its low and fixed prices on all products. As opposed to the market culture and bargaining, which was the norm at the time of its opening.

Currently there are 83 Karstadt department stores throughout Germany, employing around 16,545 (by July 2014) people and serving around 1.6 million customers daily.[4] Until 30 December 2010, Karstadt was a subsidiary of Arcandor AG, but after the Arcandor's bankruptcy it was decided by the court of Essen, to sell Karstadt Warenhaus GmbH to American investor Nicolas Berggruen.[5]

History and Operations[edit]

The first Karstadt department store opened in 1881 in Wismar.

On 14 May 1881, Rudolph Karstadt founded his first store Tuch-, Manufaktur- und Konfektionsgeschäft Karstadt (Fabric/Textiles, Manufacture, and retail clothing Karstadt) in Wismar. In 1884, a second store was opened in Lübeck, 1902 opened Karstadt in Bremen. Soon, 24 stores had been opened in all of Northern Germany. In 1920, the business was turned into a joint stock company and now operates three main divisions, focusing on department stores, sports and premium products respectively. In 1984, Karstadt acquired the mail-order business Neckermann Versand. In 1994, it acquired the department store chain Hertie, to which KaDeWe belonged.

In 1999, it merged with Quelle AG to form KarstadtQuelle AG, which was renamed Arcandor AG on 1 July 2007 and filed for bankruptcy in 2009.

Karstadt was bought as a separate business by the American investor Nicolas Berggruen in September 2010.[6]

In August 2014, Karstadt was acquired by Austrian investor René Benko for a fee of €1. Benko stated he would restructure the loss-making firm.[7]

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