German department store Karstadt has not been without its share of problems – not least of which has been its inability to garner sufficient sales to convince those who need convincing that it is a good long-term prospect.
A recovery programme is under way, however, and one of the more obvious signs of change is in Goettingen, more or less in the middle of the country.
Here, Karstadt has opened K Town, a standalone store, or at least discrete from the local Karstadt branch. It is intended to attract the ‘style-aware’ youngish (25 to 45) fashion crowd, in the face of growing competition in Germany, and at first external glance is almost totally different from anything that Karstadt does elsewhere.
Internally, it benefits from the high brick walls and non-standard shape of the 9,150 sq ft floor. It also plays the inside-outside card with a ceiling that indicates that this was once a courtyard and that helps to promote a sense of space.
As far as the merchandising and store design are concerned, this is younger fashion business as usual, with suspended lighting gantries, mid-shop freestanding runner rails and tables formed by the conjunction of wooden boxes – perfect for jean displays.
Plans are in place for K Town to become a department within Karstadt stores once, and if, this pilot has proved its worth.
The difficult part will be translating the excitement of this historic building’s interior and its sense of space, but it does look to be a step in the right direction as the retailer’s new management gets to grips with effecting change. K Town has been trading in Goettingen since September.