I would like to know if there is any difference between Einkaufszentrum and Kaufhaus? Is one maybe bigger than the other?

3 Answers 3


A "Kaufhaus" sells all kinds of goods but most departments belong to the same company. The "Kaufhaus" as a whole pays rent for the building and all employers get their salary from the "Kaufhaus" So a person working in the kids section might have to fill in in cosmetics some days. A famous example in German is the Galeria Kaufhof at Berlin Alexanderplatz.

An "Einkaufszentrum" is basically a building in which different stores can rent retail space. Each store has their own employers who have nothing to do with the "Einkaufszentrum". As the other answer says, this is pretty much a mall.

  • 8
    Basically, department store vs. mall.
    – Ingmar
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 14:26
  • 1
    Maybe more importantly (from the point of view of customers) than where a person working there fills in: Depending on the season and mood of the manager, the sections can be freely resized and shifted through the whole building. Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 17:28
  • 3
    Biggest difference for me as a customer: If I buy 5 items in an Einkaufszentrum it can happen that I must pay each item individually; in a Kaufhaus I can pay them at the same cashier.
    – Chris
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 18:27

Kaufhaus = department store

which looks like one owner has all those different departments while in reality today some of the parts are operated by external comapnies.

Einkaufszentrum = shopping mall

Many different independent shops in a building or building complex.


Yes there is a difference. Kaufhaus is more like a supermarket where Einkaufszentrum is like a mall with many different shops.

  • In addition: A Kaufhaus can sell very different items. For example, Karstadt sells everything from TVs to outdoor clothing. Also, an Einkaufszentrum must not be limited to one big building. For example, a place where there's a supermarket next to a shoe store next to a sportsware store may also be called Einkaufszentrum, as everything is "in one place". Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 14:01
  • 4
    I disagree with the supermarket. A supermarket ("Supermarkt") is associated with a store that primarily sells groceries. A "Kaufhaus" offers all kinds of goods. Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 17:14
  • 1
    Kaufhaus = 'department store' not 'supermarket'
    – smci
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 19:21

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