German music retail company JPC-Schallplatten Ersandhandelsgesellschaft has bought the "WOM-World of Music" brand from department store chain operator Karstadt Quelle AG, Europe's largest department store & mail order group.

WOM will primarily operate as a separate online store within JPC's main Web site, according to JPC managing director Gerhard Georg Ortmann. Neither company was willing to disclose the price paid.

JPC was established in 1973 and is based in Georgsmarienhütte (North Rhine-Westphalia). Today the company supplies chart and specialist CDs, DVDs, films, books and vinyl records to over 200 countries via its Web site at www.jpc.de, generating sales of €42 million ($57,981,000) in its last financial year, according to the latest company figures. The company also has three retail outlets located in Germany.

Karstadt had owned the WOM brand since 1994. At its peak it operated 18 retail outlets throughout Germany but today, only three stores remain, in Stuttgart, Cologne and Frankfurt. Billboard understands that Karstadt is permitted to continue using the WOM name for these three outlets for a further year.