Germany’s single-largest independent brick-and-mortar bookshop will close in early 2016.
Düsseldorf-based Stern-Verlag, which operates from over 5,000 square meters, has been a landmark for the past 115 years in a top location, but will cease trading on 31st March with the loss of 113 jobs, owner Klaus Janssen announced on Friday (18th December).
The 80-year-old cited the increasingly difficult retail environment that makes it ever harder to run a bookshop of Stern’s size economically.
Speculations about Stern’s future had intensified in recent months, but the announcement still came as a surprise to both staff and customers.
According to German newspaper reports, Janssen had until the end tried to avoid closure. In a statement he said that while the compartmentalized structure of the shop floor with its many intermediate storeys make for attractive shopping ambience, in the end it was too costly to run.
The opening of nearby bookstores by chain competitors Thalia and Mayersche a few years ago added more financial pressure on privately-owned Stern.
While Stern’s second bookshop on the campus of Düsseldorf’s Heine-Universität which was opened in 1977, will also face closure, the company’s extensive mail order business will reportedly continue.