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International Retailers Bet on Germany

As Germany emerges as the most dependable market in a brutally unstable European economy, international retailers are vying for German real estate, opening a rash of new flagships, department stores, and boutiques.

Among the dozens of notable German openings in the last year, Irish clothing retailer Primark made waves with its first Berlin store, British brand Barbour opened its first Heritage location, and American retailers Urban Outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Hollister all opened new storefronts. French line Paule Ka and Italian Peuterey launched German flagships in Frankfurt and Berlin; Patrizia Pepe expanded to open a third German store, and Bershka expanded to open their third German store in Frankfurt.

Germany once had a poor reputation among retailers and designers–the country was known for penny-pinching customers, and for department store buyers with conservative tastes. But a new generation of German shoppers, more prone to experimentation, are now “in a buying mood,” according to Andreas Bauer, senior partner of Roland Berger’s consumer goods and retail competence center.

And amidst the EU’s economic troubles, according to Richard Lowe, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, international retailers anticipate that the German economy will remain stable in the long-term. Lowe told Women’s Wear Daily that “[Retailers] are not just saying, ‘What’s [the economic climate] like today?’ but, ‘Where has it been and where is it likely to go?’”

Key words: German economy, Germany, EU, economic crisis, international retailers, Primark, Barbour, Urban Outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, Paule Ka, Peuterey, Patrizia Pepe, Bershka, Andreas Bauer, Roland Berger, Richard Lowe, Barclays