The conclusion is that the shop said they cannot order replacement shells-- so they will refund what I paid for the boots. I'll take what I can get, though it's not ideal since I bought these over the summer when prices were lower and availability was higher. As mentioned, there aren't a ton of shops here in Munich, or elsewhere in the country, carrying anything in this line-- and almost all of those that do are sold out in my size in both last and current year models.
I've ultimately lost time and spent some aggravation on this to end up where I started (without new boots). But it could be worse. And one must keep these things in perspective... it's just boots. Compared to a much sadder loss last week (of a friend trekking in Nepal to a freak accident)-- a bit of aggravation and time with respect to boots is exactly nothing.
So that's the end of the story for now. I still have my old boots, and I'll start looking again. I'll get fantastic turns and powder shots this winter. I'll be thinking about the loss of a skiing buddy though, not a pair of boots.
Thanks for the opinions along the way. Here's wishing for good snow and safe turns to you folks. Cherish what's important.