Iconic department store KaDeWe preparing insolvency application, report claims

Iconic department store KaDeWe preparing insolvency application, report claims

The world-famous Berlin department store KaDeWe is preparing an insolvency application, reports from the German business magazine Capital have revealed.

KaDeWe department store prepares for insolvency

Berlin’s most iconic department store, KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens) is set to file for insolvency this week. 

Open since 1907, in 2014 Austrian company Signa Holding bought a majority stake in the department store. Since 2015, the Thai company Central Group has owned half of KaDeWe shares, but KaDeWe’s potential insolvency is thanks to bankruptcies at Signa.

Signa Holding announced in November 2023 that it would begin insolvency proceedings. Insolvency at Signa has also resulted in the impending mass closures at Galeria Kaufhof and partner company Karstadt, which have been owned by Signa’s CEO, Austrian billionaire René Benko, since 2019.

In the next stages, an independent insolvency administrator will be appointed to the KaDeWe Group.

Franziska Giffey eager to save the Berlin landmark

Upon news of KaDeWe's planned insolvency application, former mayor and current Berlin Senator for Economic Affairs Franziska Giffey (SPD) said that the city’s senate would do everything it can to preserve KaDeWe, “one of our city’s landmarks for over 100 years”. 

KaDeWe attracts between 40.000 and 50.000 visitors every day. First opened by the German-Jewish businessman Adolf Jandorf in 1907, ownership of KaDeWe moved to Hermann Tietz in 1927. Tietz was also Jewish, and the department store’s name was “ayrianised” to Hertie during the Nazi era. Destroyed by bombing in WWII, the building in western Berlin has undergone multiple renovations since the 1950s to build the eight floors it includes today.

First broadcast in 2021, the German series Eldorado KaDeWe – Jetzt ist unsere Zeit follows the semi-fictionalised life of the Jandorf family as the Nazis come to power.

Thumb image credit: Dolantin /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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