The German luxury department store “Ka-de-Wa” in West Berlin is facing financial difficulties. Despite its impressive appearance, signs of trouble are becoming increasingly clear. On the fifth floor, for example, fashion and home products are blocked off with fancy films, and visitors trying to purchase satin bedding are told it’s not for sale yet. Empty shelves and bare walls are visible on the men’s and women’s fashion floors, where some vendors have pulled merchandise. Even the chocolate shops on the sixth floor only accept credit card payments.
The “Kaufhaus des Westens,” which has been operating for over a century and is known as a symbol of Western European decadence, luxury, and food, is struggling to survive. Cigna, the Austrian real estate company that owns it, filed for bankruptcy due to a combination of specific business reasons such as rapid expansion, expensive financing, and mismanagement against the backdrop of a slumping commercial real estate market. This news has caused uncertainty about the department store’s future.
In addition to these financial issues, Germany’s economic situation is also precarious. The latest data published this month shows that the German economy contracted by 0.5% in 2023 despite Chancellor Olaf Schulz’s promises about a year ago that Germany would be on track for growth again. Meanwhile, politically speaking