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What will happen to Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof?

Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof may be facing another bankruptcy. Employees fear for their future. Experts warn against missing payments.

David Zajonz

From October to December he repaired elevators and escalators in various Galeria branches, says Christoph Senf. He has his small warehouse of spare parts in a garage – the Cologne native is self-employed as an elevator technician.

The company paid the first bills, but then stopped paying them, he says. “The bills are over five weeks overdue,” said Senf. A total of 42,000 euros gross has accumulated. In addition to his work, this also includes travel and material costs.

Mustard in his garage, which also serves as storage. He accuses the trading group of not paying his bills.

Will Galeria file for bankruptcy again?

One ARDGaleria did not answer questions about his allegations. The company also does not comment on speculation about impending bankruptcy.

In recent years, Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof has already been insolvent twice. After the Austrian Signa Holding, to which Galeria belongs, filed for bankruptcy in November, there is speculation that Galeria could soon also file for bankruptcy.

Signa is actually supposed to help get the ailing department store group back into shape. A financial injection of 200 million euros is planned for this. It is doubtful whether this will ever be paid out.

The first part of the aid payment of 50 million euros is planned for February, says Gerrit Heinemann, trade expert from Niederrhein University. “If this payment doesn’t come, then Galeria’s liquidity will be very tight and there will most likely be another insolvency.”

Creditors could come away with almost nothing

Galeria’s creditors, which also include tradesmen with outstanding invoices, would come away practically empty-handed in the event of insolvency, according to trade expert Heinemann. “Two to three percent of the claims are likely to come back.” The creditors would then have to forego the rest.

Elevator technician Senf no longer has any hope of getting any money from Galeria. “If I had no reserves, it would have been a bad Christmas for the whole family,” he says.

Employees are worried about jobs again

Numerous branches have already been closed during previous rounds of restructuring. Now Galeria’s employees are once again worried about their jobs, as has often been the case in recent years.

They are also investors, says Thomas Bader, works councilor at the Dortmund Galeria branch. He has been working for the group for more than 40 years. After all, the employees invested a lot in their company, for example by foregoing their salary. “Of course it’s sad when you invest in something and then it’s lost,” said the works council.

He still has hope for his company. But he doesn’t know whether Galeria will still exist in two years.

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