The Signa Sports Group aims to accelerate its growth and to strengthen the market position of its retail formats by pushing its transformation into Germany's leading multi-channel sports retail platform by appointing Michael Rumerstorfer to the position of managing director.

He will be responsible in particular for transfers of technologies and know-how within the Austrian-based company, formed last year to combine the Karstadt Sports chain with other firms in which Signa recently acquired majority stakes - Outfitter, Probikeshop, Tennis-Point and Internetstores. The Signa Sports Group is part of Signa Retail, which belongs to Signa Holding, a big Austrian real estate group.

The Signa Sports Group aims to connect pure online players that belong to the group with Karstadt Sports or set up physical stores for them. Outfitter, which sells sports products mainly on its own web store and through other online stores, opened its first brick-and-mortar store in Frankfurt in October. The online business of Karstadt Sports, which was relaunched in 2016, will be expanded by the spring of 2018.

Rumerstorfer was appointed early last year as Simon Rider's successor as chief executive of Karstadt Sports, responsible for the strategic reorganization of the German retail company. At the Signa Sports Group, he will report to Stephan Fanderl, CEO of Signa Retail.

Educated at the London Business School, Rumerstorfer worked for Atomic Austria for one year before moving into sports retail, first at the former Sport Eybl & Sports Experts group in Austria for five year and then as CEO of Planet Sports in Munich for two years.

Thomas Wanke will replace Rumerstorfer in his position at the head of Karstadt Sports. Wanke was previously working as sales manager for Karstadt Warenhaus, the German department store chain separately owned by Signa. The change of management coincided with the re-opening a few days ago of a 2,000-square-meter Karstadt Sports store in Rosenheim, which will serve as a pilot for further store redesigns.

As part of the new development program the stores will be adapted to local demand. Therefore, the redesigned Rosenheim store features a 16-meter-high outdoor climbing wall, placing a strong emphasis on climbing and other outdoor activities, in addition to tennis, running and other categories. It also places a strong focus on sneakers and other lifestyle products.

Marcel Neul, responsible for purchasing, supply chain management, development of private brands and quality control at Karstadt Sports since 2011, will also join the Signa Sports Group in the near future. Neul will be replaced by Jens Dunkel, who is currently in charge of purchasing and category management at Germany's Coop. At the Signa Sports Group he will supervise the strategic connection of Signa Sports' online and offline businesses.