Revitalisation of inner city department stores


Revitalisation of inner-city department stores – Empirical analysis of potentials and risks

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The stationary retail sector is under increasing economic pressure in many places due to the constantly growing e-commerce (online trade). Store closures by both smaller retailers and large retail chains and the resulting vacancies in city centers are only one consequence of this development. The sales and market shares of the large German department store chains have been declining since the beginning of the 21st century.

Recent developments in German department store chains show how big the problems in the department store business seem to be currently. A "negative spiral" often begins with the closure of an inner-city department store and the sudden loss of customers with regard to the surrounding retail locations. Various examples in connection with the insolvency of the Hertie department store chain in 2009 show just how much sub-centres and medium-sized centres have to struggle with these problems. Due to the characteristic architecture of many department stores (large-area and multi-storey "functional buildings", often without natural lighting), it is often difficult to re-rent or convert.

Within the project Revitalisation of inner-city department stores, the entire revitalisation process is examined both on the side of the municipalities concerned and on the side of private investors and project developers. The aim is to identify risk factors during the process, to develop process optimisations derived from them and in this way to formulate recommendations for action for future revitalisation processes.

Researcher: Stephan Weitz, M.Sc.