Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Merkle

Statement: Retail expert Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Merkle: “Retailers are partly responsible for the rising vacancy rate & the death of stores in Hamburg’s city center

Store death is already reality in Hamburg’s city center – and the vacancy rate is growing. Numerous traditional Hamburg stores such as Schuhkay, Möhring, Ladage & Oelke or Langhagen & Harnisch are also affected. But what is the reason for this? While the German Retail Association (HDE) fears that the effects of the Corona crisis will threaten another 16,000 stores with closure this year, the Hamburg CDU-party is blaming the Red-Green Senate for the death of stores in Hamburg’s city center.

These analyses do not go far enough for the proven retail expert Wolfgang Merkle. The Professor of Marketing & Management at the University of Europe for Applied Sciences in Hamburg and President of the Marketing Club Hamburg sees the retailers themselves as being (jointly) responsible. He is particularly concerned with differentiating themselves from the rapidly growing competition in the field of e-commerce:

“If we want people to keep coming to our stores and downtowns not to die, stores have to offer more than a web store – and not less.” For the former CMO, divisional board member, managing director and director at Tchibo, Galeria Kaufhof, ZARA, Massimo Dutti and Otto, this is actually not such a big problem. He even sees retailers as having an advantage over online retailers: “Retailers simply need to combine the best of both worlds: create more experiences per square meter and consistently optimize process quality and customer loyalty.”

What specifically does brick-and-mortar retail need to do to keep up with online business, which is spoiled for success? What strategies are necessary to survive in the future? What do retailers need to consider to counter changing consumer behavior and reinvent their stores and the shopping experience?

How can retailers reinvent themselves and find their way back to their old strength – Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Merkle will be happy to give you an interview or a statement on this topic.

Do you have any press release related questions?

Please refer to Jessica Carolin Barthel-Jelkmann at

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