BERLIN–Kaufhof and Karstadt, Germany’s two largest department store operators, are planning a merger.

 

The announcement came Thursday after meetings between the heads of Metro Group, parent of the Galeria Kaufhof department stores, and competitor Arcandor, which owns Karstadt. The news proves to be a sharp turnaround from previous denials that a merger was in the pipeline.

 

The two groups have confirmed they plan to bring together 247 department stores under the new company name of Deutsche Warenhaus AG or German Department Store Inc. The move would leave Germany with just one major department store operator. Many Kaufhof and Karstadt branches are located near each other in German towns so store closures and job cuts in the 55,000-strong workforce are expected.

 

For complete coverage see Tuesday’s WWD.