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Inno department stores in Belgium up for sale

15:16 22/10/2023

Shopping icon Inno is soon going to be on the market, the German daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has reported.

Inno confirmed the news in an official statement, although pointing out that concrete negotiations on Inno’s sale by its German parent company, the ailing Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof, have not yet started.

“This means that, for the moment, everything remains unchanged for the employees, partners and customers of the 16 department stores and,” Inno’s Belgian management said in a press release.

“Inno is in good health and ready to continue its path independently,” Inno chief executive Armin Devender maintained, confident of the stores' future after two loss-making years.

“Our strategic repositioning in recent years has borne fruit,” he added. Inno’s goal is to become more prestigious, shown in recent grand "reopenings" of Brussels’ flagship stores on Avenue Louise and Rue Neuve.

Indeed, Devender said that during the 2021-2022 financial year, Inno’s gross profit was more than €10 million and for the 2022-2023 year, “we are also heading towards an excellent result”.

Inno Belgium ended 2022 with a profit of €2.6 million, and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says it is looking to make up to around €50 million in sales revenue this year.

This return should go mainly to the German state.

Indeed, Germany has already intervened with a significant subsidy when the group was going through financial difficulties. In March, creditors approved a rescue plan for Galeria. However, some 4,000 out of the 17,000 jobs provided by the German commercial business will still have to go.

The news comes after Inno’s situation in Belgium had been looking brighter. Inno, whose heyday was in the 1970s and 1980s when window dressings, especially at Christmas time, were legendary, is currently refurbishing its shops.

Inno is something of an institution in Belgium, since its first appearance in 1897 in the capital – when ‘A L’Innovation’ opened in the city centre.

With four Brussels stores, Charleroi, in 1951, was the second town to welcome the business on the Boulevard Joseph Tirou just off the main downtown square. In total, the chain which also has major shops in Antwerp, Liege and Namur, employs about 1,000 people.

Written by Liz Newmark