Germany's Karstadt sales shrink, posts loss in 2013 -magazine

DUESSELDORF, March 19 Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:54am EDT

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DUESSELDORF, March 19 (Reuters) - Struggling German department store retailer Karstadt made another big loss in 2012/13 as sales continued to shrink, a magazine reported on Wednesday.

Karstadt, which was rescued from insolvency in 2010, made a net loss of 127 million euros ($177 million) on sales of 2.7 billion in the year to Sept. 30, 2013, business monthly Manager Magazin reported, citing unnamed board sources.

The privately-held group declined to comment on the report.

Sources close to the company have told Reuters they expected another loss last year while Chairman Stephan Fanderl has admitted Karstadt is unlikely to return to profit in 2014.

The chain's net loss widened to 158 million euros in the 2011/2012 financial year from 20.8 million the previous year, on sales which fell 10 percent to 2.93 billion.

Since Karstadt was taken over by billionaire businessman Nicolas Berggruen in 2010, it has only published much-delayed figures in the German Federal Gazette.

However, it did tell employees in a letter in January its sales had dropped 2.3 percent in the first three months of its current financial year, a period which included Christmas, underlining the challenge for former IKEA executive Eva-Lotta Sjostedt, who took over as new Karstadt boss last month.

Unions and media have accused Berggruen of not investing enough in the chain, allowing rival Kaufhof to steal market share, stoking speculation of an eventual merger of the two even though Kaufhof's owner Metro has ruled it out.

($1 = 0.7188 Euros) (Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; writing by Emma Thomasson; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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