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Karstadt Quelle Stengthens Its E-Commerce Efforts

[Berlin] The German retailer Karstadt Quelle, one of the biggests chains in the country, wants to strengthen its efforts in the e-commerce sector and increase the effective distribution and networking of the department store and mail-order sectors. The company wishes to reach its customers through mobile telephone, television and the Internet, as well as through its department stores and mail order service, commented board member Wolfgang Urban this week in Essen.

Over the next five years approximately 400 million Marks (US$ 194 million) will be invested in the Internet side of the business. Only recently Karstadt decided to stop its own Internet brand "myworld", and now the emphasis of its online presence will be on the tried and tested company brands.

All e-business activities will be collated under the leadership of the newly founded "KarstadtQuelle New Media AG". The vertical portal karstadtsport.de is to go online in the fall, just in time for the pre-Christmas market. Urban sees an attractive growth potential across the whole e-commerce sector. "Whoever has access to the necessary assets, and above all the established customer relationships, has the best start position in this quickly growing market," the member of the board explained.

On this basis, KarstadtQuelle wants to generate approximately 700 million Marks (US$ 340 million) in the e-commerce sector by the end of the year, constituting more than a triple increase in turnover from the 214 million Marks (US$ 104 million) figure for the year 1999: an increase of 37 percent.

With the integration of Quelle AG, the company feels it will hold a very strong position. In addition to the traditional distribution channels comes the electronic media which serves to add new communication and distribution channels.

Business models which connect all communication channels together can be especially successful, believes the KarstadtQuelle AG, since the customer can be reached and served in many different ways.

The company says it has over 17.6 million qualified customer addresses at its disposal; approximately 2.5 million visitors visit the department stores of the company on a daily basis.



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