According to the court, the country has now been given the opportunity to comment. A decision could be made in the coming week. A group spokesman initially did not want to comment.
Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof with its 28,000 employees is particularly affected by the store closures. Except for food and drugstore departments, which are separately accessible, all houses must remain closed due to the corona crisis.
According to the company, the company therefore misses a turnover of around 80 million euros every week. If the closure lasts until the end of April, the loss of sales should have totaled half a billion euros.
The governments had announced that the shops would gradually reopen on Monday. However, in a first step, only shops with an area of less than 800 square meters are allowed to open. The Karstadt and Kaufhof stores have an average sales area of 12,500 square meters.
However, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia has embarked on a special route: it also allows furniture stores, including those of the large Ikea chain, and baby specialty stores to be opened. Galeria is not covered by this regulation. Several retail chains and associations had already criticized that this would result in an arbitrary distortion of competition.
Another way out remains Galeria in North Rhine-Westphalia: The state government has already announced that it should not be possible in NRW to reduce the sales area to 800 square meters by barriers, so that it can at least partially open. Other federal states, such as Lower Saxony, had promised this.
Group struggles for survival
Due to its difficult situation, Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof had applied for self-administered protective shield proceedings in early April. The protective shield procedure is considered the preliminary stage of insolvency, follows the same rules and often leads to a regular insolvency procedure.
It is reserved for companies that are not yet insolvent, but are at risk of bankruptcy. Under the protective shield, they are safe from access by creditors for three months and should therefore have enough time to organize their finances.
As has now become known, the Signa holding company of the Austrian investor René Benko sells 17 properties from the ailing department store chain Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof. The buyers are funds from the financial investor Apollo EPF. According to the Bloomberg news agency, the purchase price is around 700 million euros. That is exactly the same amount that Benko claims to have invested in Galeria as an additional capital injection.
A Signa spokesman declined to comment on Friday. The transaction was already registered for review at the Federal Cartel Office at the end of March, and the competition authorities released the sale on Wednesday this week. Signa has been the sole owner of the troubled department store group Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof and numerous department store properties of the company since June 2019.
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