Apollo-Optik, which is already the second-largest optical retailer in Germany after Fielmann, reinforces its market position by taking over 42 optical shops that have been operated by Karstadt within its own department stores or right next to them, plus Karstadt's edging facility and its logistic center in Essen, together with the 250 persons employed in these operations. In addition to taking over their operation on the same sites, Apollo will open about 50 slightly larger optical shop-in-shops within other Karstadt department stores over the next two years.
All 90-plus present and future optical shops in and around Karstadt's department stores will be rebranded as Apollo-Optik, featuring a different assortment and benefitting from the purchasing power and know-how in the optical sector of Apollo and its Pearle Europe parent company in Holland, including its dedicated information technology. Apollo will benefit from Karstadt's strong image in Germany and by the high customer traffic at its top retail locations. The re-branding program will be backed by a strong advertising campaign.
In 1999, Apollo opened a dozen new stores, reaching a total of about 250 outlets. The chain's turnover increased by more than 13 percent to about 300 million DM (e150m). The acquisition of Karstadt's outlets will add an annual turnover of about 50 million DM (e25m), giving Apollo an estimated national market share of about 10 percent. Aside from the program with Karstadt, Apollo want to accelerate its expansion in Germany by adding about 25 of its own free-standing stores in 2000, and a similar number in 2001.