Winter landscape and decorative products for the shopping center

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Interview with Raimund Mört, Department Manager Visual Marketing/Decoration, dodenhof Posthausen

The family-run business Dodenhof has the largest shopping centers in Northern Germany – in Posthausen near Bremen and in Kaltenkirchen near Hamburg. The people in charge have to lure consumers from far away to come “to the outside of town“. To do this, they pull out all the decorating stops, for instance during Christmas. In recent years, the luminous LED winter landscapes have gotten more and more extensive. Yet the company deliberately adheres to German Christmas traditions. The planning starts up to two years in advance; 50 associates are involved in this process.

What was your Christmas highlight in 2011 in terms of decorations?

Besides the large sale of Christmas articles in the “Lichthof der WohnWelten” (atrium), the so-called ”Enchanting Christmas world“ is worth mentioning. It consisted of a large 800 square meter outdoor ice-skating rink with an adjoining Christmas market with restaurants, events, Disco on Ice and artisan booths. This extensive range of products was complemented by ”MOLLI – The Christmas Express“. This is a branded electric train for children, which ran at no charge through the outdoor Christmas market and also across the mall through the entire shopping center. This was especially developed in-house for children up to about six years of age and implemented by my Visual Marketing department. The customer response and frequency of visits were a resounding success.

The interior decoration was changed in all areas to a traditional winter theme. The sports shop (“Sporthaus”) for example had a real gondola ski lift hanging between decorations at the entrance on the first floor and the ski department on the second floor of the store.


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How do you organize the shop design?
Specialty department size, service provider, interior designer, decorators etc.

Visual marketing consists of three large areas: 1. Fashion house/department store/sports, technology, 2. Furnishings and equipment and 3. Corporate services for graphics and the Center highlights. Around 50 associates are in this department, among them four apprentices. If needed, the department also buys services.

Why do LED products play such a big role for you at Christmas?

Since they do not take up much space when they are being installed, they offer other, also “more refined” applications than previous lamps. In addition, the advantage of LED products is their great durability during installation, removal and storage. Generally, we use LEDs in warm white color; for themes like the outdoor ice skating rink, we use cool white LEDS and for occasions that are more emotional, we opt for colored or color-changing LEDs.


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Does power consumption play a role for choosing LED lighting? Actually, how important is sustainability for decoration?

Yes, aside from burn time, power consumption is a topic. Energy consumption is also a topic in the customer dialog. The manufacturing methods for the various basic materials of all displays give little leeway for sustainability. It exists very well through long-term use, meaning a higher reuse rate. For seasonal themes – meaning Spring/Summer – and for holiday themes – Christmas, Easter – we always use natural materials. They exclusively originate from the local region. This way we know that they were compatibly planted and avoid long transportation routes.

When do you start planning for Christmas? How do you do this?

Demand is determined company–wide one and a half to two years before the season. An important part is domestic impressions and impressions from abroad. These serve to collect ideas and cost planning. Themes and trendy topics are determined one year ahead at trade shows and by watching competitors. Detailed planning down to the merchandise takes place starting in January of any given year.

Which trade shows do you visit? In which cities? Where do you get your ideas?

We are at the Christmasworld trade show in Frankfurt, the Nuremberg Toy Fair (“Spielwarenmesse Nürnberg”) and of course at the EuroShop trade fair in Düsseldorf. We look around all German towns that have window dressing, at clothing and department stores and shopping centers. Cities with active city marketing are also interesting to us.

Having ideas is definitely also a question of predisposition and professional experience. Ideas also develop from something we saw, heard and experienced. In addition, ideas arise from the exchange with other creative minds; ideas also emerge by watching competitors, trade shows, magazines and technical literature.


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Hollywood brings lush Christmas lights to Germany with its Santa Claus. Is Christmas becoming more and more international?

Not in our point of view. “Traditional” decorations with traditional German colors and details still play a big part. For years now, changes towards more lighting, more color, more animation,”more boldness“ have been made primarily in product areas for the young clientele and technical areas.

Is your Christmas decoration standardized in all of your product areas?

Company-wide and across all locations, one standard main decorating theme with a uniform slogan is being used. The product areas themselves work in a complementary way or coordinated in detail to the merchandise.

By now, you have a few tenants in Posthausen. Do you give them guidelines for the Christmas decoration?

Our tenants implement Christmas decorations in their store windows based on their own ideas. To link all shopping center areas, the main decoration theme is used company-wide. Among others, our tenants are H&M, Esprit, New Yorker, Thalia, s.Oliver, Ernstings Family, Zero, Görtz17, 1982, Tommy Hilfiger and Lacoste.

What do you think the general trends in Christmas decoration for the next few years will be?

The share of “traditional” colors and elements will still increase. Crayon colors might possibly be more accepted in decorative elements.

Interview by René Schellbach,



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