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Store shutdowns imminent as Kaiser’s supermarket on brink

The future of the loss-making supermarket chain Kaiser’s Tengelmann remains uncertain, as the company’s CEO is considering soon closing down dozens of stores and cutting thousands of jobs to keep the troubled chain afloat.

Kaiser’s Tengelmann currently runs around 550 stores in three regions in Germany. In Munich and southern Bavaria it operates under the name Tengelmann. In Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia it operates under the name Kaiser’s.

Germany’s largest supermarket chain, Edeka, has been trying to buy the company. The purchase was first quashed by German anti-trust regulators, and then nevertheless approved by German Vice-Chancellor and Economic Affairs Minister Sigmar Gabriel, but competitors subsequently filed a legal complaint, which once again has put the deal on thin ice.

Whether Edeka’s absorption of Kaiser’s can move forward will be decided by the German Court of Justice next month.

But in the meantime, the supermarket’s employees want answers. Its 5,300 Berlin employees are supposed to discuss the future of their positions at a staff meeting on Thursday.

CEO Karl-Erivan Haub said he wanted to reach an agreement by Friday with both Edeka and competitors who oppose the deal, like Rewe and Norma.

If the chain cannot find a solution, Haub has said he will immediately start selling off individual stores, which would mean thousands of job losses, particularly impacting North Rhine-Westphalia.

Edeka and trade union Verdi would prefer Edeka to have a complete takeover of Kaiser’s Tengelmann, which would save most jobs.

Article source: https://www.thelocal.de/20161006/kaisers-supermarkets-on-edge-amid-risk-of-shutting-doors