A report in Textilwirtschaft, which could not be confirmed, indicates that the Karstadt Sports banner performed better than the rest of the Karstadt group in the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2010. While the group's net sales were down by 8.1 percent to about €3.3 billion, those of its sports retail segment declined by only 2.9 percent. Sales of fashion products were down by 4.8 percent.

As Karstadt's new fiscal year starts in October, the new owners also have the results for the single month of September 2010. Compared with the same month in 2009, sales were up by 9.7 and 10 percent for fashion and sports, respectively.

The group's operating results improved strongly in the 12 months through August 2010, as the operating loss was reduced to only €6.5 million from €258 million in the previous fiscal year.

Meanwhile, Karstadt's supervisory board has given its final OK to the new structure that Karstadt's new controlling shareholder, Nicolas Bergrruen, had suggested from the early stage of his negotiations to acquire the big German retail group. The company will be split into three different legal entities that will operate independently from one another: One company will manage the group's 26 sports superstores, called Karstadt Sports. Another one will oversee the 86 Karstadt department stores across Germany except the three top premium department stores, Alsterhaus in Hamburg, KaDeWe in Berlin and Oberpollinger in Munich, which will be run separately. The restructuring process is due to be finished in the second half of this year.

There have been rumors from the beginning that Berggruen intends to sell individual parts of the business sooner or later. This has never been confirmed, but Andrew Jennings, the group's new chief executive, has indicated that the management will present a new strategic plan in the next weeks with a special focus on the traditional department store business.