The future of the supermarket chain Kaiser’s Tengelmann is far from being settled. Industry insiders vehemently deny the claims made by Finance Minister Sigmar Gabriel that the issue was settled after marathon talks between Kaiser’s Tengelmann, Edeka and Rewe. Industry insiders and trade unionists are skeptical about the success of the meeting. According to them three pertinent questions still need to be clarified.
In March, Gabriel had allowed the merger of Kaiser’s Tengelmann and Edeka, whereas Rewe had lamented. The compensation provided by the conciliators asks Rewe to withdraw the suit and receive 50 of the 120 Kaiser’s stores in Berlin.
Industry experts pointed out that three open questions had to be clarified: first, the purchase price; Secondly, which of the 120 Berlin Kaiser’s branches would be offered to the Rewe Group -as there were stores with good and bad performances. Rewe did not care that the interests would be matched by the group’s stores with a total turnover of 300 million euros. “Sales do not say anything about the quality of a store,” it said.
Third, it was necessary to clarify the extent to which Rewe had to contribute to the cost of meat, logistics and administration of Kaiser’s Tengelmann. The chain consists of 450 stores in Berlin, Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia. All of the Bavarian Kaiser’s shops will go to Edeka; which is undisputed.
Trade unionists had expressed skepticism immediately after the press conference of Gabriel and Bsirske. DGB boss Reiner Hoffmann said cautiously that the preconditions for securing the 15,000 jobs at Kaiser’s were now “definitely much better”. Kaiser’s works councilor Volker Bohne said that as long as Rewe had not withdrawn his complaint, he did not understand why Gabriel explained all the obstacles for clearing away.