Metro is considering alternatives to formally merging its Kaufhof department store chain with Karstadt, the department store retailer owned by insolvent group Arcandor.

Metro is examining the possibility of renting selected properties directly from owners once Karstadt goes into bankruptcy. A Metro spokesman said the retailer was interested in acquiring the bulk of Karstadt’s 89 department stores but had not decided on one option. A formal merger would be complicated by antitrust rules.