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Arcandor AG (KarstadtQuelle AG until June 30, 2007) is a holding company located in Essen, Germany, that oversees companies operating in the businesses of mail order and internet shopping, department stores and tourism services. It was created in 1999 through the merger of Karstadt Warenhaus AG, which was founded in 1920, and Quelle Schickedanz AG & Co, founded in 1927. In 2005, the corporation had about 68,000 employees and annual sales of €15.5 billion. Its stocks were traded on the Mid Cap DAX until September 2009. The company's largest store is Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe) in Berlin, while the largest store under the name Karstadt is in Frankfurt. On May 11, 2009, the company requested government financial assistance due to liquidity problems. On June 6, 2009, the company announced that it is no longer able to pay rent for its department stores, which the company had previously sold and leasebacked. On June 9, 2009, the company filed for bankruptcy.
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. Soon, 24 stores had been opened in all of Northern Germany. In 1920, the business was turned into a joint stock company. 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 finally merged with Quelle AG to become KarstadtQuelle AG, only to be renamed Arcandor AG on July 1, 2007. The current chief executive officer is Karl-Gerhard Eick (since 2009).
On June 5, 2009, investigations started into possible breach of trust offenses by Arcandor's former CEO Thomas Middelhoff.
Arcandor AG business segments
Arcandor is active in the following business segments:
- Brick-and-mortar operations:
- General: neckermann.de (until 2005 known as Neckermann Versand), Quelle
- Specialty assortments: Walz, Hess Natur, Fritz Berger, Madeleine, BON'A PARTE, clinic+job-dress, DK Berufsmoden, Simon Jersey
Arcandor's websites, when taken together, put Arcandor easily in the top 20, and maybe in the top 10, in the rankings of all web properties ranked by numbers of unique visitors per month, among internet users in Germany. Most of this traffic is shoppers at online stores branded with the company's brick-and-mortar store brands or its mail-order catalog brands.
In June 2009, Arcandor filed for bankruptcy protection after its request for loan guarantees of up to 650 million Euros had been rejected by the German government. After the bankruptcy, Thomas Cook is not a part of Arcandor anymore, as shares of the travel group which formerly served as collateral against the loans taken out were sold by Arcandor's creditor banks.
- In July 2008 Arcandor AG's combined websites ranked number 9 on the list of all websites ranked by unique visitors per month, among German internet users, according to data compiled by Comscore. See 
- 'Berlin rejects loan request from retailer Arcandor'
- http://www.abendblatt.de/wirtschaft/article1555586/Investor-Berggruen-zahlt-einen-Euro-fuer-Karstadt.html Abendblatt Newspaper (German)