Insolvency administrator Arndt Geiwitz. dpa
The department store chain Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof (GKK) has repeatedly looked deep into the abyss over the past few years. In the middle of the pandemic, the business figures of the traditional department store chain plummeted, and on April 1, 2020, the management had to apply for the first protective shield procedure at the Essen district court. A little later, insolvency proceedings were filed with the court; GKK owner René Benko’s confidante, Arndt Geiwitz, took over as insolvency administrator and was supposed to make the company competitive again. Geiwitz apparently wanted to shrink the company healthily, 62 of the 172 existing branches in 47 cities were closed.
Is Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof in trouble again? Internal documents show how high the losses are and how low the liquidity is
Two years later, GKK plunged into another bankruptcy. The company’s management cited the war in Ukraine, interrupted retail chains, inflation and energy prices as reasons. However, experts also fundamentally doubt the concept of the department store in the digital age. In any case, GKK owner Benko once again trusted the services of Arndt Geiwitz. This time too, branches were closed; 42 stores were affected. 600 million euros that the federal government donated in taxpayers’ money as aid have now apparently been burned.
Did Geiwitz’s strategy work this time? Apparently not: Business Insider recently reported that the company’s liquidity had fallen so low that an alarm mechanism was triggered and CEO Oliver van den Bossche had to inform Supervisory Board Chairman Wolfram Keil about the situation. Now GKK is hoping for the Christmas business as a lifeline.