The dismantling of German retailing group Douglas by its American owners Advent International is gathering pace, and with it speculation that a sale of the Douglas-owned book chain Thalia is imminent, possibly even this year. The largest brick-and-mortar bookseller in the German-speaking countries has become the focus of attention after Douglas sold its jewellers division Christ to fellow American investor 3i.
Advent has made no secret of the fact that they’d like to sell Thalia sooner rather than later to concentrate on Douglas’ successful core business, the eponymous chain of upmarket perfume shops. For the past 18 months since Advent acquired Douglas, Thalia has successfully undergone major restructuring. According to c.e.o. Henning Kreke, the bookseller is now back on an even keel and delivering above budget.
Since Advent took Douglas private last year, sales figures are no longer available. The German trade paper Buchreport estimates Thalia’s total sales to be a fraction in excess of €1bn, following the joint venture with Swiss chain Orell Füssli introduced in 2013.
Thalia operates about 300 bookshops in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, owns online bookseller Buch.de and is part of the retailer alliance that sells the e-reader Tolino.