BERLIN — Stephan Fanderl, chairman of the Karstadt supervisory board, has been named chief executive officer of the troubled German department store group.
In tandem, Karstadt said six doors would be closed as part of its new restructuring program.
The ceo position had been temporarily filled by Kai-Uwe Weitz, the group’s labor director as well as chief financial officer Miguel Müllenbach following Eva-Lotta Sjösted’s unexpected resignation last July after less than six months at the helm.
Fanderl, who was a top manager at the German REWE supermarket chain, has been supervisory board chairman for the past year.
The group, which is comprised of 83 mid-market Karstadt department stores, the three premium houses KaDeWe, Alsterhaus and Öberpollinger of the recently renamed KaDeWeGroup and 28 Karstadt Sports stores, was taken over by the Austrian real estate company and investor Signa from Nicolas Berggruen in August.
The mid-market Karstadt doors have been struggling for over a decade and attempts to revamp and reposition the chain have born little fruit. Closures of unprofitable stores have long been expected.
Karstadt said that Hamburg Billstedt, Stuttgart, the two “K.Towns” in Gottingen and Cologne and the so-called Bargain Centers in Frankfurt/Oder and Paderborn would be shuttered between April and September 2015. Company insiders and industry observers expect up to 20 to 30 Karstadt doors face closure.
“The restructuring will demand much from us. It will not be possible to ensure the survival of the entire group without very painful decisions as well as door closures. All efforts must be targeted at improving operative performance as well as the stores’ profitability,” Fanderl said.
Wolfram Keil is to assume Fanderl’s post as chairman of the supervisory board. The Signa Retail Group director has been a member of the Karstadt controlling board since September 2014.