The German department store “Ka-de-Wa” in West Berlin is facing a crisis. Despite its luxurious appearance, signs of trouble are becoming increasingly apparent. Fashion and home products on the fifth floor are blocked by film screens and the amiable Zevan explains that they are part of the store’s inventory, not for sale yet. Empty shelves and bare walls can be seen on the fashion floors where vendors have returned goods and terminated contracts. Even chocolate bars on the sixth floor require payment by credit card only due to bankruptcy.
Cigna, an Austrian real estate company that has owned “Kaufhaus des Westens” for over a decade, filed for bankruptcy due to a combination of specific business reasons against the backdrop of a downturn in the commercial real estate market. This symbolizes not only the bad economic situation of Germany but also its precarious political situation as far-right (and radical left) parties are gaining popularity in recent polls.
The store’s troubles reflect not only its own struggles but also those of Germany as it barely sells online and is struggling to survive after the corona years where online trade has grown and economies have already recovered. However, according to the manager of business activity there, with a normal rent, there is a future for “ca-de-va”.