Bonn · Karstadt Bonn will be closing its doors for good on October 17. It is now having a going-out-of-business sale to clear out the merchandise. Meanwhile, it is expected that several employees will file lawsuits over their dismissal.
A clearance sale began on Wednesday at Karstadt Bonn. Long queues quickly formed at the cashiers. On Monday and Tuesday, when it was announced that the store would close, customers were flocking to the store in droves, reports works council member Therese Thrun. "We would have liked to have that before." On Monday, Thrun was informed that all 120 employees would lose their jobs. As a member of the works council, she will appeal all of the dismissals, she said.
Around 45 colleagues have decided to switch to a transfer company, reports the 62-year-old, who has been working at Karstadt for 40 years. In the transfer company, the employees will receive support when applying for a new job, and their unemployment benefits are also increased somewhat.
Thrun expects Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan and his business development team to support the Karstadt employees and help them find new jobs. The works council is anticipating that a large part of the workforce will take legal action against the dismissals. In contrast to previous information, the department store will close already on October 17. GA inquiries to Karstadt trustee Frank Kebekus as to what will happen with the store afterwards remained unanswered on Wednesday.
Guido Déus, chairman of the commerce committee and spokesman for CDU economic policy on the council, regrets the decision to close the Karstadt branch in Bonn. "In spite of all the efforts of the City of Bonn, the lessor Aachener Grundvermögen and politicians, we did not succeed in persuading the company to keep the Bonn branch.” This was a bitter blow, especially for the 120 employees. "I hope that there will be a good outcome for them," said Déus. The closure of the Karstadt branch was also a heavy loss for retail trade in Bonn's city center. Déus continued: "I hope that the vacancy in this high-profile inner city location will not last for long.”
For SPD faction leader Angelika Esch, Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan "only realized much too late that the city might be able to contribute to the rescue (of Karstadt) by making its own contribution. Other mayors knew this immediately and acted accordingly with success", Esch is convinced. In the view of the SPD faction, the offer by the city to reduce the rent for the property came too late. "Actually, it would now be the task of the Lord Mayor and the Economic Development Department to make good on the statement they made in June and help find an attractive tenant quickly," she urged.
What’s important now is that solutions be found for the employees. "In the current situation, that's certainly no easy task. Karstadt must be held accountable." It was also noted that a vacancy running for several months would considerably diminish the attractiveness of the inner city.
The citizens’ group Bürger Bund Bonn (BBB) also expects Mayor Sridharan, as head of economic development, to help prevent a long-term vacancy of the property. Similarly, the Aachener Grundvermögen as owner and landlord of the property is called upon to do its part, said BBB faction leader Marcel Schmitt. "Even if this means that the landlord has to be paid handsomely for modernizing and converting the building."
(Orig. text: Lisa Inhoffen, Translation: Carol Kloeppel)