Hanover. It’s been sought for decades, but has yet to be found: an idea that could halt the seemingly unstoppable decline in supermarkets. Previously famous names like Horten and Hertie have already disappeared from the city center and now Karstadt and Kaufhof can follow.
Parent company Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof wants to radically rebuild half of its remaining 131 branches and give the rest at least a radical makeover. The deletion of traditional names is no longer a taboo, on the contrary. Group President Miguel Mullenbach announced a unified brand identity, and the chances are high that only the Galleria flag will fly on the rooftops in the future.
The names are closely related to the economic miracle
Older clients in particular may feel a little gloomy, as the names Karstadt and Kaufhof are closely associated with West Germany’s economic miracle. Consumption temples were not only symbols of prosperity and growth, but also pedestrian zones in large and medium-sized German cities as architecturally important anchor points.
But nostalgia is not a business model, managers at the company’s headquarters in Essen realize. Two years after the Karstadt and Kaufhof merger and the painful closure of several locations, the company is now trying to make the remaining stores fit for the future.
This step is overdue and the concept behind it is not stupid. Hardly any customer today would expect a full-range supplier from coffee spoons to lacy hats. More stores, more services, more get-togethers – that’s an idea, after all.
It is set in a time when it is no longer just department stores but now entire inner cities are struggling to survive. For this reason alone, it is hoped that Galleria will succeed in the plan. Even without the names Karstadt and Kaufhof.