BERLIN — Today Eickhoff, tomorrow Christian Dior.
Or, for the sake of accuracy, make that next spring. One of Germany’s most celebrated luxury multibrand retailers, Eickhoff, is closing its doors on Düsseldorf’s Königsallee. Dior has signed a 10-year lease for the 7,860-square-foot store, with an option for renewal, the Eickhoff family said Monday. The Eickhoffs own a 60 percent stake in the property.
Stefan Asbrand-Eickhoff, who together with his wife, Susanne, ran the store founded in 1961 by her parents, Albert and Brigitte Eickhoff, told WWD that the decision to close wasn’t a case of receiving an offer they couldn’t refuse.
“The main reason is the changed market situation and the distribution policy of the big [luxury] brands,” he said. “Big brands are now either sold in mono-label stores or large shop-in-shop concepts. The current form of multibrand stores have only a limited future,” he said, listing other recent German closures such as Maendler in Munich, Fischer in Stuttgart, Möller + Schaar in Frankfurt and Heinsius + Sander in Kassel.
Eickhoff launched many international designer brands in Germany during its 52-year run. Claiming to have better sell-throughs than the monobrands, the store generated 27.8 million euros, or $35.8 million, in sales in 2012, “and we’re super positioned this year,” Asbrand-Eickhoff added. “But we have seen how the acquisition of brands has gradually become more and more difficult, and there are too few brands on our level to find adequate replacements. We’ve tried, but they burn out too fast. They don’t have the strength and longevity,” he commented.
The Eickhoffs, he emphasized, “are people who like to act, and we didn’t want to wait till someone else made this difficult and painful decision for us.” The family has put up 1 million euros in bonuses for its 50 employees. Albert Eickhoff retired from daily operations in 2006, but his daughter and son-in-law said they will definitely remain in the fashion business and are evaluating numerous offers.