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Department Store Flags (Germany)

Deutsche Kaufhäuser

Last modified: 2021-03-20 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: galeria | karstadt | kaufhof | kaufhalle | horten | hertie | kadewe | alsterhaus | oberpollinger | quelle |
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[Germany] 3:5; image by António Martins-Tuválkin
German merchant ensign

Editorial Note: FOTW does not report commercial flags unless such flags have a vexillological value. The presentation of such a flag shouldn't be interpreted as a recommendation of any company or its products.

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Preface

Department stores nowadays are an endangered species. They suffer more and more from the increasing online trading and it has become worse by the current pandemic. Many of them are already gone in Germany, and others probably will follow. You need a bit luck, to find images of their flags. So let's start! Meanwhile just one of all these German shopping palace giants has survived, the Galeria, although having absorbed all its competitors, in difficulties itself.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 Mar 2021


Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof

Introduction of Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof

On 30 November 2018 Karstadt merged with Galeria Kaufhof, owned by a new holding, consisting of Signa Holding (50,01%) and the Canadian Hudson Bay Company / HBC (49,99%). The latter sold its shares to Signa in 2019. Since 2019 the company adopted on the brand "Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof". In 2020 the Karstadt Warenhaus GmbH went into bankruptcy, among others as a result of the corona pandemic.
Source: German WIKIPEDIA
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Mar 2021

Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof Flag

[Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof flag] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider,

Since 2019 flags (and banners) with shades moving from blue (hoist) to green (fly) in gradient fill were introduced, carrying the new logo of Galeria, a white shopping back, beneath an inscription "GALERIA" (1st line, bigger) "KARSTADT KAUFHOF" (2nd line), also being white.
Source: spotted in Hamburg
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Mar 2021


Karstadt

Introduction of Karstadt

In 1881 Rudolf Karstadt opened his first store in Wismar, named Tuch-, Manufactur- und Confectionsgeschäft Karstadt, selling cloths, garments and household goods, probably mainly porcelain. In 1884 the 2nd branch opened in Lübeck. In 1900 he bought the 13 stores of his brother Ernst Karstadt, who went into bankruptcy. Until 1908 he had collected 24 branch stores all over northern Germany. In 1912 he opened a branch in Hamburg (Mönckebergstraße) having 10,000 sqm of sales area. According to source it was the first department store in a German metropolis. In 1920 the department stores of Theodor Althoff, a competitor based in Dülmen, were acquired and the company was transferred to a public company (German: Aktiengesellschaft / AG). The acquired branches kept their old name. In 1926 a low price section was established under the name EPA (= Einheitspreis Aktiengesellschaft). Until 1932 56 EPA branches developed. In 1930 Karstadt had 89 branches, 27 factories and 29,000 employees and had been then Europe's biggest department store company. In 1963 the Althoff & Karstadt stores were renamed to Karstadt.
After WW2 all branches in east and central Germany were lost and 30 of the 45 branches in west Germany were either destroyed or seriously damaged. Since 1952 the company expanded. In 1977 the majority of the shares of Neckermann Versand AG, a mail order company, were acquired. In the same year the low price section Kepa (a successor of EPA) was sold. In 1982 Neckermann was acquired completely. In 1999 the company merged with Quelle, forming the Karstadt Quelle AG. In 1994 the company had already acquired the department stores of Hertie, incl. the KaDeWe in Berlin.
At the beginning of 2009 the company had 90 branches all over Germany. But decline had begun. In 2011 Karstadt Sports and the flag ships were transferred to separate companies. On 30 November 2018 Karstadt merged with Galeria Kaufhof, owned by a new holding, consisting of Signa (50,01%) and the Canadian Hudson bay Company / HBC (49,99%). The latter sold its shares to Signa in 2019. Since 2019 the company adopted the brand Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof. In 2020 the Karstadt Warenhaus GmbH went into bankruptcy, among others as a result of the corona pandemic.
Source: German WIKIPEDIA
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Mar 2021

Karstadt Flag #1

[ flag] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Mar 2021

According to a postcard before WW2 the flags were white with a blue inscription "KARSTADT"" and blue edges at top and bottom.
Source: postcard 1924
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 March 2021

Karstadt Flag #2

[ flag] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Mar 2021

After WW2 the company used for a long time simple dark blue flags (and banners) with white inscription.
Source: spotted in Hamburg
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 March 2021


Kaufhof

Introduction of Kaufhof and Kaufhalle

In 1879 Leonhard Tietz opened a small shop, selling buttons, cloths, wool and threads, which is called, I believe at least, a haberdashery. He bought other stores and places of production and unified his stores in 1905 to the Leonhard Tietz AG, a public company. In 1933 he owned 50 branches. In 1933 the company was renamed to Westdeutsche Kaufhof AG, and Tietz, being of Jewish origin, was forced to sell his properties to the three biggest German banks for a very low price. After WW2 the company was called simply Kaufhof, expanded and became the Kaufhof Holding, which merged with Metro Cash & Carry in 1996, now named Kaufhof Warenhaus AG, 2008 changed to Galeria Kaufhof GmbH, 2015 sold to the Hudson Bay Company it was owned by Signa Holding since June 2019. Before in 2019 the company merged with Karstadt AG, since then having the name Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof. In 2018 Galeria Kaufhof still had nearly 100 branches in Germany.

Kaufhalle AG is not to be mismatched with the namesake shops belonging to HO (Handelsorganisation) in East Germany before 1989. Kaufhalle AG was established as the low price section of Kaufhof, often located in stores, which had become too small for Kaufhof itself. The company was established as Ehape Einheitpreis-Handelsgesellschaft mbH in 1925 and changed to a public company a bit later. It was renamed several times in between. After 1990 the branches of its competitor Bilka were incorporated. Although there had been more than 100 branches, the company was no longer profitable and had losses of 4,200,000 DM. The new owner Metro wanted to get rid of the stores and changed some of them to Media Markets and sports goods stores and sold some of the stores. In 2000 an Italian investor bought the whole thing, but also ran out of success and in 2000 the last branches were closed, and Kaufhalle nowadays is only administrating the remaining real estates.
Sources: German WIKIPEDIA and German WIKIPEDIA
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 Mar 2021

Kaufhof Banner #1

[Kaufhof Banner #1] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 Mar 2021

The banners were green and changed in details. The (probably) older banner had a vertical white inscriprion with a small "GALERIA" and a bigger "KAUFhOF".
Source:
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 Mar 2021

Kaufhof Banner #2

[[Kaufhof banner #2] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 Mar 2021

The newer banner was also green with the logotype at its bottom: Under a light green arch was a big white inscription "GALERIA" over a much smaller light green inscription "KAUFhOF", all over a light green fess.
Source:
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 Mar 2021

Kaufhalle Banner

[Kaufhalle AG banner] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 Mar 2021

The banner was red and white, above in a red square was a red inscription "KAUFHALLE" over a red disc, charged with an inscription in minuscules "unser favorit" (= our favourite) with a stylised "f" exceeding the disc, beneath the banner was sinister bendy of red and white, approaching the bottom the red bends became broader and the whites narrower.
Source: photo of Bielefeld's pedestrian zone, the Bahnhofsstraße from the 1960ies(?) in a nearby fish restaurant
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 Mar 2021


Horten

Introduction of Horten

Horten AG was established in 1936 by Helmut Horten. The seat was Düsseldorf. The company expanded after WW2 and incorporated several competitors, among those the self-service warehouses of Otto in 1974. Helmut Horten moved to Switzerland in 1968 and sold all his shares and those of his wife until 1972. Since 1988 the Galeria conception developed for Horten department stores having more than 7000 sqm. In 1994 the company was incorporated into Kaufhof.
Source: German WIKIPEDIA
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 Mar 2021

Horten Banner #1

[Horten banner #1] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 Mar 2021

The first banners were dark blue with the Horten Logo in white, an initial "H" in a disc connected with a surrounding square by two thin horizontal stripes, under the logo was a white inscription "Horton" in its typical font type.
Source: own photo
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 Mar 2021

Horten Banner #2

[Horten banner #2] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 Mar 2021

Later banners were blue with inscription "Horten" thrice in white, very light blue and light blue.
Source: own photo
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 Mar 2021

Galeria Horten Banner

[Galeria Horten banner] speculative image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 Mar 2021

The logo of Galeria Horten was dark blue on a white background with the typical "Horten" inscription with the addional arch and the word "GALERIA", like later on the flags of Kaufhof. Please note, this image displays only the logo, I still have no evidence, whether it was also displaye on house flags.
Source: own photo
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 Mar 2021


Hertie

Introduction of Hertie

Oskar Tietz established the passementerie shop "Hermann Tietz" in Gera in 1828. Hermann Tietz had spent the money for his nephew Oskar. Until 1900 the business had increased to six shops and the seat moved to Berlin in 1900. The company Hermann Tietz OHG concentrated its business to the eastern parts of Germany , while the company of his brother Leonhard Tietz operated in the western parts. Quasi dispossessed by NS-government the business of the latter was renamed to Westdeutsche Kaufhof AG, vorm. Leonhard Tietz in 1934. The appendix "vorm. Leonhard Tietz" was removed soon.
Meanwhile the Hermann Tietz OHG ran a few department stores in Berlin since 1900, among those the flag ship KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens), which means "department store of the west" (of Berlin), which became one of Europe's biggest shopping temples.
The company suffered from the same fate as that one of Leonhard Tietz, enforced also by the biggest German banks.
Before in 1926 the company had 13,000 employees. On 24 July 1933 the creditor banks established the Hertie Kaufhaus-Beteiligungs-Gesellschaft m.b.H. (shortly: Hertie GmbH), where the name, before already used for own brands, was an abbreviation of Hermann Tietz.
After WW2 the company lost nearly all its branches in the Soviet occupation zone. But it survived by the few remaining department stores in the western occupation zones. And in 1950 the KaDeWe was re-opened. Since 1952 Hertie held the majority of the shares of ist competitors A. Wertheim AG and Hansa AG and established a low price line under the name Bilka, an abbreviation for cheap shop. When CEO Georg Karg died in 1972, the company ran 72 own branches plus 29 branches of is low price branches. Business declined seriously since the 1980ies, although the company had still 123 branches in 1984. Finally in 1993 the owner Hertie Foudation, established by Georg Karg sold the Hertie Waren- und Kaufhaus GmbH to the Karstadt AG. The foundation 1,652,000,000 DM without paying any taxes. In 2005 Karstadt sold the Karstadt Kompakt GmbH & Co. KG, in which the smaller department stores were summed up to a British investor, who revived the name "Hertie". Those smaller branches then belonged to Hertie GmbH. But as the investor ran out of plans, the new company went into bankruptcy in 2008 and the remaining 54 branches were dissolved in 2009 by its deptees.
Source: German WIKIPEDIA
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 13 Mar 2021

Hertie Pennant reported 1934

[Hertie pennant pre WW2] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider and Ivan Sache, 13 Mar 2021

Originally the company used (probably) red pennants with white inscriptions "Hertie".
Source: post card from 1934
Klaus-Michael Schneider,

Hertie Flag (- 1993)

[Hertie flag (- 1993)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 13 Mar 2021

After WW2 flags (and banners) were white with an ininscription of red initials "HERTIE" and the so called Hertie sun, a red disc surrounded by blue rays at its top end, and in blue initials the slogan "GUT IST UNS NICHT GUT GENUG." (= good ain't good enough for us).
Source: own photo
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 13 Mar 2021

Hertie Banner (2008 - 2009)

[Hertie GmbH banner (2008 - 2009)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 13 Mar 2021

The short living Hertie GmbH used red banners with white inscription "Hertie" in hand writing.
Source: own photo
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 13 Mar 2021


The KaDeWe Group

Introduction of KaDeWe Group

The group was outsourced from Karstadt and operated Germany's three premium department stores.
Source: German WIKIPEDIA
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Mar 2021

Kaufhaus des Westens / KaDeWe

[KaDeWe flag] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Mar 2021

KaDeWe is one of Europe's most famous department stores. It has 60,000 sqm sales area on 7 floors. It was established by Adolf Jandorf and opened on 27 March 1907. It had a luxury assortment, a posh restaurant and 2nd food department ordered by size worldwide and introduced the American idea of a shop-in-shop department store in Germany. Jandorf sold his enterprises in 1926 and since 1927 KaDeWe belonged to Hermann Tietz OHG. Under NS government the KaDeWe was transferred to the Hertie GmbH in 1934. Since 1994 it belonged to Karstadt, which established the Karstadt Premium Gmbh, owned by Karstadt, in 2011, since 2013 Karstadt held only 24,9% of the shares, the rest was held by Signa Holding. The business was finally renamed to The KaDeWe Group in 2015, with owners Signa Holding (49,9%) and the Thai company Central Group (50,1%). On a postcard, made during the "white weeks", a sales action, of 1927 the store flagged (probably) dark blue pennants, probably having an inscription (details not recognisable) Later flags were in use, white with dark blue inscription "KaDeWe" in typical font type with dark blue stripes at top and bottom.
Source: German WIKIPEDIA
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Mar 2021

Alsterhaus

[Alsterhaus flag #1] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Mar 2021

Alsterhaus opened in Hamburg in 1912 as a branch of Warenhaus Hermann Tietz, having five flores. Like KaDeWe in Berlin also Alsterhaus was transferred to Hertie GmbH in 1933. The Alsterhaus was the headquarter of Hertie Gmbh between 1948 and 1961, owned by the Karg family. In 1994 parts of Hertie's department stores were transferred to Karstadt, among those also the Alsterhaus. Between 2003 and 2005 the store was renovated and the shop-in-shop conception was introduced. It belongs to the KaDeWe Group since 2013.
The flags changed various times, but I can offer a former version in dark blue, with inscription in white initials "ALSTERHAUS" and the white logo at hoist. The logo displayed a blue annulet in a white square with a stylised blue cog in the annulet and the sail charged with a white "A".
Source: German WIKIPEDIA
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Mar 2021

[Alsterhaus flag #2] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 Mar 2021 The current flag is white, in the lower half parted by seven light blue pales, in the middle of the upper half is an inscription in grey initials "ALSTERHAUS".
Source: spotted in Hamburg on 17 Mar 2021
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 Mar 2021

Oberpollinger

[Obepollinger banner] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Mar 2021

The building is combining five houses in Renaissance style. Among those had been the building of the (upper) Pollinger brewery, which became the namegiver. In 1850 a master brewer from Kulmbach bought the brewery and its tavern, which existed since 1842. He also bought the neighbouring salt authority and in 1861 two neighbouring houses east of the brewery and "Brauerei und Wirtschaft Oberpollinger" came to being. In 1891 the complex was renovated and the Hotel Oberpollinger was established, which operated however without success and went into bankruptcy in 1903. The real estate was acquired by M.J. Emden Söhne, a company from Hamburg running department stores. The building was demolished and rebuilt in 1904 in Neo Renaissance style and is nowadays a protected monument. The Kaufhaus Oberpollinger GmbH was established and in 1905 the new department store opened. The store was bought in1927 by karstadt, together with the complete M.J.Emden Söhne company. Since 2007 the store appears as Oberpollinger München, before it had been Karstadt Oberpollinger. It belongs to the KaDeWe Group since 2013.
The banners were (before 2007) yellow with inscription "Kaufhaus Oberpollinger" (vertical) and at the bottom "Karstadt" (horizontal, small) under a graphic, I can't recognise.
Sources: German WIKIPEDIA and thhis photo
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Mar 2021


Quelle

Introduction of Quelle

Quelle was famous in (West-) Germany as a mail order business, which forwarded millions of thick catalogues with thousand of pages twice a year (the horror for postmen). You could pick up your parcels either in little shops or the articles had been sent to the homes of the customers by German mail. Besides that there had been department stores in bigger cities all over the country, where you buy the things you wanted or a least order them and pick them up in the shop later .
The company was established by Gustav Schickedanz in 1927. The seat had been Fürth. In 1974 the business volume was 6,400,000,000 DM, after the company had incorporated a few competitors. The company then had 36,000 employees.
Until the 1980ies Quelle had been one of Germany's greatest multiple shops. Parts of the department stores were sold to Hertie, a competitor, in the 1990ies. In 1975 the Gustav und Grete Schickedanz Holding KG was established. The company remained a family business but was changed to a public company (German: AG = Aktiengesellschaft) Quelle Schickedanz AG & Co. in 1999 and merged a bit later with Karstadt AG. The new company KarstadtQuelle AG changed its name in 2007 to Arcandor AG, as new investors had captured the company due to its economic difficulties and in 2009 the company went into bankruptcy. The name "Quelle" was sold to the Otto Group and is since then an online trader belonging to Baur, a part of the Otto Group.
Source: German WIKIPEDIA
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 Mar 2021

Quelle Flag

[Quelle flag (Germany)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider,

The flag was white with a blue logo. The logo was an initial "Q" and its bendy line was shaped like a hand.
Source: photo of Bielefeld's main square, the Jahnplatz, from the 1960ies(?) in a nearby fish restaurant
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 Mar 2021


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