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The group's import volume is on the rise, and the goal is to expand it to 3 billion euros, or $3.82 billion, spokesman Jörg Howe said. Industry sources placed KarstadtQuelle's current imports at well under 2 billion euros, or about $2.5 billion.
"It's just much more efficient," Howe said of the link with Li Fung, which, as a procurement partner for international operations such as Marks & Spencer and Abercrombie & Fitch, brings KarstadtQuelle greater buying power.
Besides more competitive pricing, the partnership offers greater flexibility in procurement processes and will make it possible to offer up to 12 collections a year in the future, the group said.
While KarstadtQuelle's key decision-makers will remain at headquarters in Essen, Germany, design centers to set collection specifications will be set up in Europe and Asia over the coming months.
— With contributions from Melissa Drier and Damien McGuinness, Berlin, and Amanda Kaiser, Milan