BERLIN, Sept 22 Austrian investor Rene Benko plans to increase investment and hiring at German retailer Karstadt's luxury and sports stores, he said in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, allaying concerns among workers that he might be planning cuts.
Vienna-based Signa, Benko's property vehicle, said last Monday it was taking 75.1 percent stakes in Karstadt's luxury and sports divisions.
"It's our goal to expand operations over the long term and to further develop the business locations," Benko was quoted by the German weekly newspaper as saying.
"We will invest in our stores and expand at the same time and hire further personnel," Benko said, without providing details.
Businessman Nicolas Berggruen, who rescued Karstadt from insolvency in 2010, is retaining the other 24.9 percent stakes in the units and will keep 100 percent of Karstadt's remaining 83 department stores. (Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Mark Potter)