A service point in the city and more services: Potsdam’s Lord Mayor Mike Schubert (SPD) outlined the first outlines of a possible new concept for the Potsdam Karstadt branch in front of around 100 representatives from retail, administration and politics on Thursday. “We should now use the time to develop a specific Potsdam idea – so that Karstadt Galeria knows what we want to do if the location is retained,” said Schubert at a specialist conference on inner-city retail on the top floor of the department store on Brandenburger Strasse .
It is not about copying the concept from Kassel. As reported, Schubert and a Potsdam delegation had a look at the modernized department store last week. However, he considers the idea of a branch of the citizen service at Karstadt to be transferrable to Potsdam. In a video, he showed that there could be space for this in an area at the Karstadt entrance in the direction of Dortustrasse.
Even before the decision has been made within the protective shield procedure of the ailing department store group, which of the branches in Germany should be kept and which should be closed, Schubert wants to present a proposal with his administration and sales representatives. According to Schubert, after the symposium, the aim is to convey a description of the ideas to Karstadt in December and to enter into discussions.
Schubert is optimistic
It is also not clear to those involved whether such an initiative can be the decisive factor in maintaining the Potsdam location. But Schubert was confident. “I’m optimistic that Potsdam has a good starting position,” said the mayor. “The situation requires us to go one step further in the areas of cohesion, speed and commitment.” The Karstadt-Palais has made a significant contribution to the development of the city center and should continue to do so in the future.
Engelbert Thulfaut presented further suggestions as to what Karstadt 2.0 could look like. He is responsible for the strategic reorientation at Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof GmbH. It is true that Thulfaut made it clear right from the start that his statements were “not a precondition for the continuation or discontinuation of certain locations”. Only to immediately afterwards praise the “picturesque facades” and the “wonderful silhouette” of Potsdam’s inner city, which can be seen in front of the event location’s windows. In his presentation, Thulfaut made it clear how he sees the department store of the future. “The department store has to surprise again,” says Thulfaut. “Galeria has to become a part of the city.”
It’s about “wellbeing”, about a feel-good experience when shopping. Thulfaut chose clear words: “Mass is online, selection is online. We don’t need more pots, we have to curate.” Karstadt’s strategy has changed. Just a few years ago, the tendency was to centralize everything if possible, to make decisions for everyone and not allow any individuality. The group has turned away from this a bit. The new strategy provides for the inclusion of regional characteristics.
We don’t need more pots, we need to curate
Engelbert Thulfaut, responsible for the realignment of Karstadt
In Kassel, in addition to a bar on the roof terrace, there is also a fairy tale forest Grimm Museum and a pop-up art lounge was set up for the Documenta. In Frankfurt, an entire floor is aimed specifically at Asian customers. According to Thulfaut, these offers should be the center of attention, not hidden somewhere in the furthest corner. All of this serves to increase relevance and frequency. Because: “In the end, the product pays the rent.” It doesn’t work without sales.
All in one downtown
What applies to Karstadt also applies to the city center as a whole. “Without consumption there will be no trade,” said Schubert. That’s why a local goods voucher to redeem in the shops is a good idea. But a classic mixture of retail and gastronomy alone is no longer the solution. “We need a city center that can advertise that it can do a lot in a small space,” says Schubert, including services, housing and culture. He expects additional impetus from the planned creative district.
It’s about not just presenting goods, but creating offers, according to Bernd Rubelt (non-party). “We don’t need commercial experience spaces, so we want to set impulses in the coming months.” Temporary uses or events in the twelve side streets of Brandenburger Straße are planned.
Rubelt also expects a significant improvement in the situation from the conversion to a city center with few cars. The almost obligatory question came from the audience as to where people should park. But the deputy was convinced that new meeting points, outdoor gastronomy or presentation areas for retailers could be created on the newly created square due to the lack of parking spaces, for example in the Dutch Quarter. “We create space for something new.”
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