In view of the plans to close seven locations of the insolvent group Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof in Hesse, the economy insists on quick action to avoid vacancies. It is important to develop perspectives with the owners of the affected real estate as quickly as possible, said the President of the Hessian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Kirsten Schoder-Steinmüller of the German Press Agency. In addition, a strategy for inner cities supported by all stakeholders is needed. “Then the following applies: go new ways, test things courageously, invite new actors, for example from art and culture, to the city centers and tackle the challenge together with motivation,” says Schoder-Steinmüller.

It was announced last week that the insolvent department store group also intends to close seven locations in Hesse as part of the planned tough restructuring. The Verdi union therefore warned that the remaining locations would bleed dry and the consequences for the inner cities. According to her estimates, more than 600 employees in Hesse are likely to lose their jobs as a result of the closures. In addition, there would probably be another 300 jobs that would be lost as the eight remaining branches were downsized.

Schoder-Steinmüller explained that the announced closures are “just the tip of the iceberg. Numerous smaller shops have had to close in recent months.” In addition to the after-effects of the corona pandemic and the shortage of skilled workers, the reasons are also increased energy prices and, last but not least, the slump in consumption as a result of high inflation. It seems as if “not all actors in all municipalities have yet recognized the scope of the situation,” said the HIHK President. Trade is no longer the sole driving force that lures people into the inner cities. “Things will therefore no longer be the way they used to be. We now have to shape the change together.”