In one of the most difficult phases of his company, Christian Greiner had one goal: He wants to invest. “We have launched a sporty investment program for the next three years,” said the 41-year-old head of the traditional Munich department store Ludwig Beck in the podcast “Die Stunden Null” (Personal-Financial.com, n-tv star). “We want to steer against the crisis and show people that we can remain attractive and innovative, even when things are difficult.”
Individual departments are being renovated, and money is flowing into systems for customer management and online trading. “After the restart, we want to give the customers who come back the feeling that shopping can be an experience,” said Greiner. He is the son of the entrepreneur Hans-Rudolf Wöhrl as well as owner and supervisory board chairman of the fashion chain Wöhrl.
The department store “Ludwig Beck am Rathauseck” is an institution in Munich. It will be 160 years old next year – however, during the crisis, sales fell by a third. For this year, Ludwig Beck expects sales of between EUR 63 and 70 million instead of EUR 95 million – and losses of up to EUR 5 million.
“The cancellation of the Oktoberfest hurts us extremely,” said Greiner. “The millions of visitors also come to the city to shop.” Ludwig Beck lives not only from regular customers, who also come less often, but from tourists. In any case, the frequency is even lower, “on some days between 30 and 50 percent”, reported Greiner. However, once a customer is in the house, they will usually buy, but on average spend less money – because expensive items such as evening wear or traditional costumes are currently not on sale. “I don’t need an evening dress, I don’t need a tuxedo, and I don’t need expensive lederhosen either,” said Greiner.
The Corona crisis is actually the “death knell for many business models,” said Greiner. He does, however, believe in the future of department stores and stationary retail – if they come up with something and reinvent themselves: “Shopping has to be entertaining, it’s an emotional business,” said Greiner, who also runs a record label. “The crisis shows that everyone has to move: the dealers, the property owners and the cities, they are often still too static and sedate.”
Now hear in the new episode of “Die Null”,
- Which strategy Christian Greiner used to revive the Wöhrl fashion chain in 2017,
- why Ludwig Beck sold “kilometers of rubber bands” during the crisis,
- why a ferris wheel can be a building block for saving inner cities.
You can find the new episode of “The Zero Hour” directly at Audio Now, Apple or Spotify or via Google.