It was only three years ago that the fashion manufacturer Gerry Weber had to save itself from bankruptcy with the help of insolvency proceedings. Now the well-known clothing manufacturer from Halle in Westphalia is again in crisis. In order to restructure itself, the company is planning significant cuts in the branch network and job cuts of an unknown amount, as the company announced on Wednesday.
"The renovation project is a necessary response to external circumstances," said Angelika Schindler-Obenhaus, head of Gerry Weber International. The fashion manufacturer was hit hard by the corona crisis and the changes in customer behavior caused by high inflation and declining purchasing power. Many shops can no longer be operated profitably after Corona.
149 stores and 28 outlets
This time, however, the fashion company is taking a path that has rarely been used in Germany in its restructuring efforts. Gerry Weber International AG applied to the Essen district court for the initiation of proceedings under the law on the stabilization and restructuring framework for companies (StaRUG). The aim of the StaRUG procedure is for entrepreneurs to be able to restructure their business without having to go through insolvency proceedings. "Part of the project is to be a complete capital cut, which would also mean that Gerry Weber International AG shares would no longer be listed on the stock exchange," the statement said.
However, the fashion manufacturer cannot avoid insolvency proceedings this time either. Gerry Weber Retail GmbH, in which the German retail business with its current 149 shops and 28 outlet stores is combined, is to be restructured with the help of insolvency proceedings under self-administration.
The retail business had to be realigned overall, said Schindler-Obenhaus. "For this we want to build the branch network of the future. Because we firmly believe in the branch. At the same time, we have to put every square meter of space to the test today," said the manager. By the end of June it will be clear which branches have a future, it said. How many shops would have to be closed as part of the renovation also depends on the willingness of the landlord to negotiate.
In her words, Gerry Weber wants to concentrate on "the healthy core" in the future and further strengthen the successful wholesale business, e-commerce and international business. These areas are therefore not affected by the restructuring measures, said CFO Florian Frank. The ability to deliver remains fully guaranteed and business operations continue to run to the full extent.
Gerry Weber is not alone with his current problems. Numerous fashion suppliers in Germany are currently fighting for survival - including many well-known names. Germany's last major department store chain, Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof, sought rescue in protective shield proceedings at the end of last year. The fashion retailer Peek