It has never been a secret that Globetrotter Ausrüstung, Germany’s and probably Europe’s largest specialty outdoor retailer, wanted to conquer the southern cities of its home market to overcome its focus on the northern region of Germany. With its superstores in Hamburg, Dresden, Frankfurt, Berlin and Cologne as well as with its outlet in Bonn, the Hamburg-based chain has never had a store farther south than Frankfurt. It now seems likely that Globetrotter will reach Munich by Spring 2011.

Andreas Bartmann, managing partner of Globetrotter, confirmed to THE COMPASS that the company is in serious negotiations with Bavaria’s capital on a location at Isartorplatz, a square just 500-odd meters away from Marienplatz, the heart of the city. Bartmann says the location, a building known as Rieger City, is attractive because of its proximity to the city center, but that it needs a complete revamp that is subject to the consent of the local authorities. The boss is confident that negotiations are going well, but said that the entire procedure needs time. Adding in the major construction the building would require, Bartmann says it would not open before spring 2011.

The building, whose location appeals to larger retailers who target Munich’s downtown, has suffered a decline in the past few years. Rieger City was established by the Rieger company, the city’s leading retailer for fur fashion. Rieger eventually sold the building to a real estate investor who, after the acquisition, drove smaller businesses out of the building without successfully attracting new tenants. The big player in Rieger City continues to be Cinemaxx, a large chain of movie theaters, which has its Munich operations there. Bartmann says that it is important to him that a cinema is there because the chain regularly runs cinematic incentives for its customers.

The revamped Rieger City will have a selling surface of between 6,000 and 8,000 square meters depending on the specifications required by the local authorities and the logic of the building itself. While trading in the area via mail order and e-commerce, Globetrotter has repeatedly insinuated that it might come soon to southern places such as Munich, Nuremberg or Stuttgart, but they have been careful not to rush into a deal without jeopardizing the company’s well-being. The Hamburgers have been screening Munich for at least 10 years without speeding into the highly competitive city, which is dominated by strong players such as Sport Schuster, SportScheck, Bittl and Lauche & Maas, the local hero in specialty outdoor retail. Another high-profile outdoor retailer, Därr, was eventually acquired by Lauche & Maas. Serious sources say that Globetrotter was screening Därr at that time, but the northern dealer checked Därr so thoroughly that the local competitor made its decision faster. On top of this, Därr’s selling surface would be too small, at least for the company’s current standards.