Department stores benefit as domestic economy recovers

Department stores benefit as domestic economy recovers
Photo: DPA
Germans are returning to department stores in droves, with major companies recording increased sales just a year after the demise of such businesses was being foretold.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Sunday that figures from the Society for Consumer Research (GfK) showed many department stores were performing very well this year.

“The downwards spiral recorded in turnover of department stores for decades will stop for the first time in 2010,” Manuel Jahn, from the GfK, told the paper.

“Many businesses are doing astoundingly well.”

GfK figures show that leader in the German department store market Kaufhof, will show a comfortable increase in turnover, while Kaufhaus Ludwig Beck is expecting a record profit for this year and Stuttgart-based Kaufhaus Breuninger is planning to open a new store on the back of double-digit growth.

“The department store is alive, and how!” said Lovro Mandac, head of Kaufhof. “More than two million people come to our stores day for day. And they are certainly not coming to see a post mortem. We are the second largest watch and jewellery seller in Germany, no-one sells more women’s underwear and we are number one in polished diamonds.”

Department stores are benefiting from the general economic upswing in the country, the paper said, while people are increasingly choosing to shop locally rather than at large out-of-town stores.

Economics Minister Rainer Brüderle said the expectation of a busy pre-Christmas shopping period is proof that the economic recovery is no longer restricted to export business.

“The spark from the export firework has jumped over to the domestic economy. The recovery is thus on two firm legs and is increasingly seen in the wallets of the citizens,” he said.

The Local/hc

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