Bonn The efforts of the city of Bonn and the Aachener Grundvermögen were in vain: The Karstadt branch in the city centre is to close at the end of October. The employees are very upset.
The battle to keep the Karstadt branch on Poststrasse in Bonn alive is probably lost: since Monday, large signs on the upper floors have been announcing the impending closure. The clearance sale is to begin on Wednesday. The landlord of the department store property, Aachener Grundvermögen, which only a few days ago had offered Karstadt a rent reduction of more than 50 percent, was obviously caught off guard by this development. On Monday, they did not yet know about this step.
Karstadt Works Council Chairwoman Therese Thrun seems deeply affected on the phone: "The mood among my colleagues and me is catastrophic", she says, "you can imagine. Until the end of last week, everyone was still hoping that the branch could be saved by the landlord's concessions. And the city of Bonn, as reported, also wanted to make concessions in the course of the rent reduction. It had offered the Aachener Grundvermögen to lower the rent for the property, which is owned by the city, from 750,000 per year to about 500,000 Euro.
Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan received no feedback from Karstadt
Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan was surprised by the current development: "We have not yet received an official reaction from Karstadt to our offer. The signs suggest a decision has been made about which we have not yet been informed. I would be disappointed if facts were now created without seeking further discussion.
But that is obviously what has happened. They do not want to talk to the press either: An inquiry by the GA to both the group's trustee, Frank Kebekus, and the group's press office in Essen remained unanswered until evening. Meanwhile, Works Councilor Thrun reports that the staff had received instructions from Essen by e-mail as to what is to happen now. "We knew that the signs would be put up starting this week," she says. When employees in charge of the company wanted to call on their colleagues to help, she intervened: "I told them that none of my colleagues would help them hang the signs. Thrun, who has been with Karstadt for 40 years, no longer understands the world: "Everyone has moved, we've been in the black and now this. They don't care about us as employees."
Karstadt customers in Bonn sad about the end
Customers are also deeply affected by the closure. Sigrid Hosenstein from Bonn, for example, very much regrets the closure of the Karstadt store. "I don't think that's good," says the 76-year-old. She is particularly concerned about the employees. "Where will the people be accommodated?" she asks. "The permanent staff is not that young anymore." Sigrid Hosenstein, who has been living in the city since 1987, is sure that fewer people will go to the city centre after it closes. "I know many people who go to Cologne for shopping, because the train connections are good there." For them it will be more difficult. "I can't find anything for me in these new fashion stores." For the future, she thinks it's important for the city to check what's how well attended downtown.
Even Danijela, who doesn't want to read her last name in the paper, thinks it's a shame that the store is closing. "There aren't that many big department stores here," says the 43-year-old. "That's a pity for the city of Bonn." She also wonders what will become of Aldi and dm who have moved into the basement of Karstadt.
A 21-year-old student, who has just come out of the Karstadt branch, takes a rather pragmatic view. "I think the step is okay," he says. After all, Galeria Kaufhof on Münsterplatz will remain. Once a week he goes to Karstadt. For him, it is important that the stores in the inner city survive. "I try not only to order online, but also to shop in the local stores."
Original text: Lisa Inhoffen and Thomas Leurs
Translation: Mareike Graepel