BERLIN — The search is about to begin for a buyer for the insolvent Arcandor Group’s Karstadt department store chain, insolvency administrator Klaus Hubert Görg said at a creditors’ meeting on Tuesday.
Unlike Quelle, Arcandor’s catalogue business which is being liquidated, Görg said a restructuring of the insolvent 126-door department and sports store group was the “best alternative for all participants.” He remains committed to a sale of the group as a whole, and said there have been several serious offers, though he declined to be more specific.
The Metro Group, which runs the competing 113 German Galeria Kaufhof department stores, has long expressed interest in taking over some, but not all, of the Karstadt doors. No official offer has been made.
Görg said the search for a buyer could begin soon, and that a room has been set up for examination of the chain’s books. Sales and earnings figures have not been released past the first quarter of fiscal 2008-09 (Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2008), but Görg said the retail group was back in the black in October.
Six Karstadt doors are to be closed in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Dortmund and Braunschweig. Another 11 are being reevaluated.
To support the restructuring, Karstadt’s employees recently agreed to forgo vacation and Christmas allowances for a savings of 150 million euros, or $225 million, over the next three years.
In other developments, Arcandor said Tuesday that it had sold the home shopping channel HSE 24 to AXA Private Equity for an undisclosed amount. HSE is Germany’s leading home shopping channel, and the sale secures the jobs of about 500 employees.