Friday, 26 October 2018

Comeback: first new department store location in decades
Gropius Passagen: Karstadt further expands store network in Berlin

On 25 October 2018, Karstadt is opening its new department store in the Gropius Passagen in Berlin and thus driving forward its further development. The new store was tailored precisely to the local requirements in its size and design. Karstadt signed a long-term lease for the new store. Together with the store opening in 2019/20 in Berlin-Tegel, the Karstadt store network in Berlin is growing to nine department stores.

Karstadt CEO Dr Stephan Fanderl explains: “In Gropius Passagen, we have created a brand new shopping experience: a product range individually tailored to the location where in-store and online assortments grow together in the closest way. This location has considerable development potential socio-demographically and we accordingly expect a sharp increase in purchasing power. Our customers not only come from the direct vicinity, but also from the surrounding, strongly growing communities.”

The new Karstadt store in the Gropius Passagen covers approximately 7,900 m2 of sales space on three storeys. From the modern store fixtures to the use of digital information platforms, shopping in the new department store is a special experience.
In order to meet customer desires even better, for example, all employees are equipped with mobile devices, and digital information points are located throughout the store. There, customers can browse through the product range of the store and of on large screens independently or together with an employee. An opportunity to order products – to the store, to the home or to another Berlin store – is possible via this service.

Besides the store in the Gropius Passagen, another department store in Tegel is already planned for 2019/20. The two new department stores expand the existing Karstadt store network in Berlin to the South and North and thus sustainably strengthen the company’s market position in the metropolis.

“We are very pleased to have obtained such a progressive and strong retailer as Karstadt for the Gropius Passagen. We know that Karstadt will be an important customer magnet for the entire centre. The new store in the Gropius Passagen is a further important step for us in the successful and partner-like cooperation with Karstadt,” says Andreas Hohlmann, Chairman of the Management of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Germany.

The owners of the Gropius Passagen, investment manager TH Real Estate and Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Germany, have been modernising the history-steeped shopping centre since autumn 2014 with a total investment of around EUR 125 million. The aim is to more strongly underscore the focus on fashion and lifestyle in the future. The centre has already received a brighter and more open design, a revamped customer information desk and comfy seating areas. Another highlight will be the new, state-of-the-art restaurant concept. The completion of the project and the inauguration of the new restaurant area are planned for the end of November 2018.

“In the current market environment, repositionings and expansions constitute the best opportunity for us as an investor to actively drive value creation,” says Frederik Sarnes, Retail Asset Manager, TH Real Estate. “With the modernisation and the numerous new tenants, we are aligning the Gropius Passagen to the future and local requirements that both our customers and tenants demand of today’s shopping centres. The Gropius Passagen already have indisputably great significance for the south of Berlin and we see rising visitor numbers and sales in the future.”