Germany’s last large department store group, Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof, wants to close 16 of its 92 branches. The German Press Agency learned this from company circles on Friday. Insolvency administrator Stefan Denkhaus plans to announce details of the affected locations and the schedule on Saturday.

Of the approximately 12,800 people the company employs, 11,400 should keep their jobs. It was said that 1,400 would have to go. Denkhaus recently announced that half of the 900 jobs at the company headquarters in Essen would be cut.

Third bankruptcy in three and a half years

The department store group filed for bankruptcy at the beginning of January. It is the third bankruptcy within three and a half years. At the time, Galeria boss Olivier Van den Bossche cited, among other things, the insolvencies of the Signa Group of the previous owner Rene Benko as the reason for the difficult situation. Their imbalance had an immediate impact: the financial resources promised for the restructuring of the department store chain in the wake of Benko’s last bankruptcy were no longer flowing.

In January, Van den Bossche and Denkhaus announced that they were looking for a new owner and preserving Galeria. The company then said it negotiated with several potential investors. It has been known since the beginning of April that a consortium consisting of the US investment company NRDC and the company BB Kapital SA owned by the entrepreneur Bernd Beetz wants to take over the department store chain.

Insolvency plan until the end of April

Insolvency administrator Denkhaus wants to present the insolvency plan for the change of ownership by the end of April. The creditors will meet on May 28th at the Essen Messe to vote on it. The plan is only legally binding when the meeting of creditors accepts it and it is then reconfirmed by the court. Denkhaus wants to hand over the company to the new owners by the end of July.