A lot has been written about Karstadt's leasing arrangements with various investment funds (Goldman Sachs et al), and how the high rents allegedly bleed the company dry.
Not sure if that is correct, though:
According to this link, yearly rental payments amount to 323 m €.
And according to the interim financials, floor-space is 1.56 million sq.m., so average annual rent is 207 €/sq.m., or 17 € per month.
During the last financial year, Karstadt's revenues reached 4.1 bn €.
So total rental payments were 8 % of revenues.
Is that a lot?
This article tells us that rents in good locations are up to 300 € per month in Munich. Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Stuttgart also see top location rents above 200 €.
As for second-tier cities: Dresden and Leipzig cost you around 100 €, Potsdam only 45 € (says this link), and 60-100 € are charged in various mid-sized Bavarian cities (according to here).
In other words, Karstadt's 17 € aren't exactly excessive, far from it.
However, Karstadt has another problem:
Low revenue per square meter.
- Karstadt's average annual revenues per sq.m. are 2,600 €
- Random googling shows that a mid-sized Salzburg shopping-mall reaches 8,000 € per sq.m.
In other words: It's hard to pay market rents if you have lots of "dead space" that doesn't sell much.
Still, if the above numbers are correct, I would argue that it can't exactly be said that Karstadt has to pay extortionary rents.