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Galeria wants government aid again in the Corona crisis

2021-12-07T16:59:03.259Z

Galeria's Karstadt and Kaufhof stores need further state aid to survive. The chief financial officer of the ailing department store chain named an amount in the three-digit million range in an interview.



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Kaufhof branch in Cologne: nationwide sales decline of 40 percent expected in December

Photo:

Christoph Hardt / Future Image / IMAGO

Retail is one of the areas particularly affected by the latest Corona restrictions.

In order to be able to cope with the crisis, Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof, Germany's last large department store group, has now applied for further state aid.

Galeria CFO Guido Mager said in an interview with the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" that the application for additional millions from the Federal Government's Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF) was made at the weekend.

The company asked the economic stabilization fund for a supplementary interest-bearing loan because of the renewed "pandemic consequences."

"We expect a benevolent decision this calendar year."

According to Mager, it is not yet clear how much money the retail giant will need in the end.

»The current pandemic scenarios range up to an amount of 220 million euros.

I hope we don't need that amount, ”he said.

Everything depends on how the development goes in the next few months.

The department store group belongs to the corporate empire of the Austrian real estate billionaire René Benko.

Galeria had already received a loan of 460 million euros from the WSF earlier this year to ensure liquidity in the pandemic.

Galeria was then on a very good path and even hired 2500 new employees in the first half of the year, said Mager.

But the high numbers of infections, 3G in local transport, 2G in retail, the cancellation of Christmas markets and Sunday shopping would have led to a sharp drop in visitor numbers in the city centers.

"This is like a kind of lockdown in the middle of Christmas shopping," he said.

The group now expects sales to decline by 40 percent in December.

Due to this recent pandemic, Galeria asked the Economic Stabilization Fund for a supplementary interest-bearing loan.

This option was already provided for in the first contract in the event of further pandemic waves.

Galeria is a large employer with around 17,000 jobs subject to social security contributions - 20,000 with subsidiaries, the manager said.

And the company is "systemically relevant for German city centers".

Mager said: "When department stores close, it has a full impact on the city centers - especially on medium-sized and small ones."

apr / dpa

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2021-12-07

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