Germany's Karstadt posts wider full-year net loss

DUESSELDORF, Germany - Struggling German department store retailer Karstadt has posted a wider net loss for its past financial year, highlighting the pressure on its new chief executive to turn around the business.

Karstadt, which along with Kaufhof is one of Germany's best-known retail chains, has been losing market share and returning it to profitability will be the key task of new CEO Eva-Lotta Sjostedt, who started two weeks ago.

The chain's net loss widened to 158 million euros ($219 million) in the year through September 2012 from 20.8 million the previous year, on sales which fell 10 percent to 2.93 billion, according to figures published in the German Federal Gazette on Monday.

The privately-held group had told employees in a letter in January its sales had dropped 2.3 percent in the first three months of its current financial year, a period which included Christmas.

Karstadt was rescued from insolvency in 2010 by billionaire businessman Nicolas Berggruen, but German unions and media have accused him of not investing enough in the chain, allowing rival Kaufhof to steal sales.

$1 = 0.7214 euros

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