Instead Arcandor is embarking on a €900m cost-saving programme that will see it either combine or sell much of its retail operations. However it will keep Thomas Cook as a core interest.
Karl-Gerhard Eick, chief executive, said the travel group, which generates two-thirds of group sales, would remain a core investment. Shares in Thomas Cook subsequently slumped over 10 percent.
Eick said that Arcandor would lean up by combining 1,500 shops of its Quelle catalogue business and hundreds of other sites into a new unit charged with “developing” these assets over the next few years. However he also said Arcandor would focus on its 52 per cent stake in Thomas Cook.
The restructure comes after Arcandor fought to refinance itself late last year and still has to renegotiate €650m in loans by June.
Mr Eick said that he was “confident” that the restructuring would allow Arcandor to secure long-term financing - with the help of “the bank[s], shareholders, employees and all other stakeholders”.
Possible disposals could include Berlin’s KaDeWe, Germany’s biggest and most famous department store, and two other top-flight shops, putting to an end Mr Middelhoff’s long-held aim of forging a European premium-store alliance.