Is a relocation of textile production desirable?

► “The priority must be to produce better everywhere”

Nayla Ajaltouni, spokesperson for the Ethics collective on the label

For forty years, a new international division of labor has been set up with fully globalized subcontracting chains. Europe has also helped to specialize in textiles certain countries such as Bangladesh, and it would undoubtedly be extremely difficult to go back by relocating everything to France. Even if it is desirable for part of the production to return, if only for environmental and social reasons, other problems arise, such as that of skills that have been lost.

We have been mobilizing for five years for the implementation of a law on the duty of vigilance of multinationals to answer these questions. It aims to streamline business models and investment decisions so that they are no longer based solely on financial performance and short-term profits. The objective is that corporate responsibility can be engaged, in the event of a social or environmental disaster, with the key to damages to be paid. The duty of vigilance must also encourage them to put in place policies to avoid these tragedies.

Because, whatever the place of production, the priority must be to produce better everywhere. So let’s start by sanctioning the social lowest bidder. The consequences of this unbridled globalization force us to reflect on our manufacturing methods, ensuring that there are no longer a multitude of suppliers and subcontractors spread all over the world. “

► “Competition must first be fair”

Mourad Rabhi, secretary general of the Textile and Leather Clothing Federation at the CGT.

“For the moment, there is a lot of talk around the relocation of activities but they are mainly communication to please the public. Is there a political will to do it? I do not know. The state would have the means to push for the return of certain activities. It would suffice to introduce new criteria to promote public production in France or Europe into public procurement tenders and no longer rely solely on the lowest labor cost. If we were already at 35% of French production for public purchases, that would be a game-changer.

But let’s not dream. Not everything can and should not be relocated to France. You have to think about Europe with the Mediterranean area as your rear base. We have to know how to protect ourselves with a French and European production threshold, but certain countries will of course continue to produce clothes at low prices, because there is a demand.

We are simply asking for fair competition based on the quality of the product and no longer the cost of labor. The key is to have better traceability, which Europe has never really wanted. Consumers should know what they are buying and also be sure that products sold for several tens of euros were not produced for a few euros. It is not obvious, because many manufacturers who praise the made in France, have kept factories elsewhere and it is sometimes difficult to find their way around. “

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Puma also needs money from the state

Björn Gulden

At the end of February, Puma boss Gulden had hoped for a strong year, now he has to apply for government aid.

Munich Up until a few weeks ago it worked puma As good as never before. Last year, sales increased by almost a fifth, and profits rose by as much as 40 percent. “This achievement reflects the international potential of the brand,” emphasized CEO Björn Gulden at the end of February.

With the corona crisis, however, the outlook for the sports brand has deteriorated extremely. The big leap that the manager had promised for this year is unlikely to become anything.

Instead, the former professional soccer player has to save and take out loans to make ends meet. The company, which is listed in the MDax, works with its bank consortium, which provides additional financing, the company affirmed.

These institutes in turn would use the state development bank KfW to be able to provide more money. “This is about liquidity at customary financing terms,” ​​said a Puma spokesman.

Puma is taking the same path as the local rival Adidas, albeit at a significantly lower level. While Adidas collects three billion euros from the banks, it is likely to be only a three-digit million amount at Puma.

The group does not officially state a sum. The sneaker manufacturer Adidas listed in the Dax is four times the size of Puma.

Same costs with less sales

Both sports groups, however, have the same problem as the big US competitors Nike and Under Armor: You only get a fraction of your normal sales. Shops in large parts of the world are closed, retailers cannot or do not want to pay for goods that have already been delivered.

However, the costs remain almost unchanged. For the brands, this essentially means staff and rent for offices and shops. The factories are not owned by them. However, there are purchase obligations for ordered items.

At the end of February, Gulden was still hoping for a strong year. The goal for 2020 is an increase in sales of ten percent and a significantly higher operating profit, said the manager.

At 5.5 billion euros, the sneaker manufacturer had the highest sales ever. The operating profit had climbed to 440 million euros, the bottom line was 262 million. Gulden even slightly exceeded his forecast, which had been increased twice in the past year.

It is not to be expected this year that he will have to correct his forecast, on the contrary. In addition, Gulden has decided to wait and see with the latest results. Instead of April 30, as planned, he now wants to present the quarterly figures on May 7. The Annual General Meeting in Herzogenaurach should also take place on the same day – due to Corona, however, without visitors on site.

Analysts see Puma facing difficult months. So the British bank HSBC the price target for the next twelve months has been significantly reduced from 90 to 67 euros.

In the long term, however, the situation remains promising, analyst Erwan Rambourg said. In addition: Since the beginning of the year, the papers have already lost around 15 percent in value.

Long-term investors remain comforted: the price has more than doubled in the past five years.

More: Adidas is getting three billion euros from the development bank and major banks. Two-thirds of the remuneration of the Board of Management is deleted, and the dividend is also canceled.

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Opportunities for traders in the corona crisis

Munich Long lines in the discounters, crowds in front of the drugstores – and yawning emptiness in all other shops in this country. The corona pandemic is a disaster for many retailers in this country. The trade association HDE is already raising the alarm that its consumption barometer has dropped to its lowest level since the start of the surveys in October 2016, the industry association announced shortly before Easter.

But that’s not all: the outlook is bleak. Even in the coming months, a significant decline in purchases can be expected, the crisis has reached consumers: “Many companies have closed or are stopping production, more and more employees are already on short-time work or will be in the coming weeks, the number of unemployed is increasing. “

However, there is no reason for traders to resign. There are opportunities to do business even in times of crisis. Here are seven approaches:

1. Daily contact with customers

The 150 branches are closed, but the bookstore chain Hugendubel does not want to lose contact with customers. And so the Munich-based family business sends emails with reading tips to its customers several times a week. Consumers can order the titles in the online shop. But that’s not all: The Munich company with its 1700 employees entertains the buyers: “We approached many authors to organize their readings live from Instagram from home,” says owner Nina Hugendubel. The readings are actually there to liven up the branches. Now they are used more to initiate business in the internet store.

“A newsletter is an enormously effective tool for establishing a personal relationship with customers and keeping them long-term,” says Christian Rechmann, managing director of the Munich agency For Sale. These days, newsletters could contain essential information for customers. For example, that DIY stores that individual federal states had to close to the public are still open to professionals. This would preserve at least part of the business.

2. Coupons for better times

For Martin Kerner from the outdoor store base camp, vouchers are a blessing. The Karlsruhe merchant asked his 24,000 regular customers online to support him in the crisis. Customers also do this with orders placed online and by buying vouchers. “Doesn’t save normal sales, but is more than a drop in the bucket,” says the boss of more than 40 employees.

Vouchers are now supposed to flush money into the till to get through the tough weeks of exit restrictions. Clever dealers would promise their customers a “small thank-you discount” in the shop with the vouchers, agency boss Rechmann recommends. “This allows customers to show solidarity with their favorite shops and also be happy that they shot a bargain right away.”

Hugendubel also offers vouchers for Easter that can be sent to loved ones by email. And if you still needed a game for the holidays: In the week before Good Friday there was the starter pack of the modern Gravitrax marble run from Ravensburger with a 40 percent discount.

In addition to the dealers, the restaurateurs are also hard hit. There is also a solution for them: The “Paynoweatlater” initiative enables vouchers for restaurants, bars and cafés to be purchased online all over the country.

3. Local initiatives

In many cities, retailers have come together to still sell their goods. Kauflokal.com, for example, emerged from a Munich initiative by city center retailers who wanted to give local manufacturers a shop window. The association is now trying to act as an Internet portal to draw customers ‘attention to retailers’ online shops.

“Einzelheld” is similar, an initiative by two software companies from Stuttgart who want to offer regional retailers a platform on the net to offer their goods outside of their business. There are also delivery services in numerous other cities organized by local authorities or groups of dealers.

4. Virtual advice

Check it out, try it on, pack it up: that’s normally how it works in the Schöffel Lowa stores. The two Bavarian outdoor brands have invested in joint stores across the country in order to get closer to customers. Of course, that doesn’t work at the moment. That is why consumers are now being advised by telephone. If you order, the nearest shop will send you the new hiking boots or rain jacket. And not only that: from a purchase of 100 euros, there is a 15 euro discount.
Accessible via all channels, but not face to face: that is Tobias Schonebeck’s motto. The boss of the traditional Schäffer department store in Osnabrück is there for customers by phone, has his people answer e-mails and of course accepts orders in the web shop.

With outstanding success: In the days before Easter, sales had almost reached the normal level. That is certainly also due to the fact that Schonebeck delivers the goods in the region every day. Other retailers also offer online chats with consumers, giving them a feeling of being close to the people.

5. Awaken longing

No travel, no trips, no change: people in Europe have to stay at home. Many retailers and manufacturers have therefore started to arouse people’s longing for their products with beautiful pictures – or with useful tips. This can be done via Instagram, where products can also be sold directly. Or about films on the Internet.

Alpine brand Salewa, for example, is showing a streak of two-time bouldering world champion Anna Stöhr on YouTube from next week. Like Salewa, the Bavarian Bergzeit outdoor shop is part of the South Tyrolean family company Oberalp. Bergzeit explains online how climbers can train at home and offers yoga exercises for mountain athletes.

“Service providers in particular, but not just such providers, can often also help customers digitally with their offers,” says agency boss Rechmann. “Be it the online yoga class, digital learning or an original recipe for cooking and cooking. They share their knowledge and stay in touch with customers. “

6. Sell online – even without your own internet shop

If you still have to do without your own internet store, you will hardly be able to build it during the crisis. But there are alternatives for traders. The start-up Sportmarken24, for example, enables stationary sports retailers to offer their goods on the large internet marketplaces. The small company collects a fee for this, but saves the merchants from investing in their own online shop.

The online marketplace Ebay offers special advice for stationary retailers these days, waives sales commissions in the next few weeks and wants to enable merchants to enter the Internet business. The Internet fashion retailer Zalando also tries to attract shopkeepers to their own platform. “Connected Retail” is the name of the program that is intended to make it as easy as possible for merchants to use Zalando as a digital store.

Special conditions apply until the end of May: “We completely waive our commission and pay the sales to partners on a weekly basis,” says Zalando manager Carsten Keller. Shops could easily connect their inventory. Zalando takes care of the online content, payment processing, customer care and supports the partners with a personal contact.

Some brands have closely integrated their retailers into online sales. For example, consumers can shop directly from the bike bag manufacturer Ortlieb in their web shop. The Franconian producer strikes a local dealer. It is the same with the fashion retailer Funky Staff: “All end-user orders always go directly to our retailers,” says CEO Uwe Bernecker.

7. Smart advertising

In times of crisis, many companies stop advertising to save. If you advertise smartly, you can stand out. An example of this is Schöffel. The sports brand has quickly converted its advertising slogan “I’m out” into “I stay in”.

Or the Intersport dealer association, which uses “Buy Online = Buy Local” to reach consumers on social media and thus establish a relationship with local shop owners. This could pay off, says advertising expert Rechmann: “Advertising that deals with the current Corona topic is even perceived extremely positively.”

More: How sports brands try to save their dealers.

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Coronavirus: The new tips for coming home: removing clothes and shoes and disinfecting your phone | Economy

The exceptional period of cessation of all non-essential activity has already concluded and, therefore, thousands of workers -especially in industry and construction- will return to their activity starting this Monday. In order to prevent further coronavirus infections, the Ministry of Health has produced a guide of good practices. Given the increase in mobility, Health has published new recommendations to avoid taking the virus home, These include taking off your shoes when you arrive, putting aside used clothes continuously in closed places where there are more people and disinfecting your mobile phone and glasses.

One of the most controversial measures is the use of the mask. Health changes its position and now advises its use -in a complementary way- in crowded areas and the Executive will distribute them from Monday -Tuesday in the regions that are festive- in public transport points, such as metro stations or suburbs.

However, the portfolio led by Salvador Illa insists that three “key” measures must continue to be undertaken to prevent contagion by Covid-19: interpersonal distance, hand washing and hygiene in public and private spaces. Illa himself warned this Friday that Spain is still in a confinement phase. “We are not yet in de-escalation,” he stressed.

Furthermore, it reiterates that everyone with symptoms of the disease, such as fever or cough, does not go to work, stay at home and contact the relevant health authority. On the other hand, in the commute to work, the means of transport that allow the most distance from other people -at least one meter- should be used. In case of using the private vehicle, it is necessary to maintain the greatest possible distance, with only one person per row of seats.

The companies must also maintain interpersonal distance if possible, try stagger schedules entry and exit or guarantee the distance at the access controls.

Guide not to take the virus home

Health has released this Friday new recommendations in the face of the foreseeable increase in mobility as the mandatory recoverable paid leave declines.

These are the recommendations released this Friday.

Out of home:

  • Try do not touch surfaces and when you do wash your hands well with soap and water
  • The adequate and frequent hand cleaning is more effective than wearing gloves
  • Avoid touching yourself eyes, mouth or nose
  • Keep the safety distance 1-2 meters
  • If you use car, clean it frequently, especially the surfaces that are touched the most.

When you get home:

  • Take off your shoes and leave them near the door
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Separate the objects you don’t need at home (keys or wallet) and leave them in a box near the door.
  • Disinfect other objects you have used outside (mobile or glasses), use disposable tissues or alcoholic solution or soap and water.
  • If you have been in a closed environment with more people continuously, separate in a bag the clothes that you used without shaking it. Close it and don’t take it out until you get out again or until wash it with hot water. Dry it well. Wash your hands well before handling it.

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How sports brands try to save their dealers

Munich Amazon? No thanks! Christian Schneidermeier has been concentrating on specialist shops for years. The boss of the popular mountain sports specialist Ortovox consistently refuses to shop online. His highly functional clothing and avalanche transceiver are only available from specialists who offer proper advice.

Now the manager fears that many of the shopkeepers will have to give up because of the corona crisis. It would be a disaster if his distribution network collapsed overnight. Schneider Meier is therefore breaking new ground. He provides merchants with online vouchers that they can pass on to their customers. This is supposed to help people shop in the Ortovox internet store.

A quarter of the revenue then flows to the business owners. “We want to maintain the diversity of the small specialist retailers. That has always been our basis and should remain so, ”explains Schneidermeier.

Like Ortovox, many sports brands are trying to support retailers these days. With good reason: Thousands of shopkeepers fear for their existence because they hardly sell online, but their shops remain closed indefinitely.

The outdoor chain McTrek had to file for bankruptcy on Thursday. The branch operates 43 stores and employs 420 people. The sports brands are therefore afraid of future companies like Amazon or Zalando to be instructed.

Round table planned

The Sport 2000 dealer association is therefore trying these days to get shopkeepers and brands at one table. Managing director Markus Hupach emphasizes that it is about concluding a solidarity pact.

There is a lot to discuss: for example, the question of how the masses of items currently stacked in the warehouse can be dealt with with the lowest possible discounts.

There should also be talk about when new products will be launched. Because with every novelty, the shirts, shorts and shoes that are not yet sold are worth less. Sport 2000 invited leading running providers to the first conversation, among others Asics, Brooks, New Balance, On and Saucony.

Benedikt Böhm was one of the first in the industry to respond. The head of the Alpine equipment supplier Dynafit announced in March that the 2020 summer collection would also be available next year. He wants to prevent a price battle in the next few months. “This is a clear sign to the stores that our goods are not getting old,” emphasizes Böhm.

But the brands themselves are also under pressure. Because their own logistics centers are full, and the autumn collection will soon come from the factories in Asia. The dealers, on the other hand, cannot currently buy anything. You simply lack the money.

“We have agreed with almost everyone to first suspend the upcoming deliveries until our OK comes,” says Martin Kerner from the Karlsruhe outdoor specialists base camp. “They are forced to join in the hope that an OK will come.”

But that is by no means certain. Because nobody in the industry knows whether customers will buy again as soon as the exit restrictions are lifted. Therefore Kerner is also careful and carefully thinks about what he has in store: “The last thing I want is no or the wrong goods when the shop is open again.”

Numerous sports brands now offer retailers long payment terms, sometimes up to five months. “It sounds good at first, but the day will come when you have to pay,” says Kerner.

70 percent less running shoes

But at the moment people are very unsettled. Since gyms and club sports are currently not an option, many people go jogging. Nonetheless, sales of running shoes in the US dropped 70 percent, according to the latest data from the NPD Group’s market researchers.

This doesn’t even include the recent worsening of the epidemic in America, just the week ending March 21. According to the NPD Group, business with sports equipment for young people has even declined by 90 percent, for example kick boots or baseball shoes. NPD analyst Matt Powell warns that the online stores could not even compensate for the shortfalls in local shops.

The picture in Germany is similar to that in the USA. “Business is still going on in online trading, but at different levels depending on the product group,” says Ortovox boss Schneidermeier. The sneaker manufacturer puma According to the Internet sales do not even reach ten percent of the usual revenue.

Brands like Puma or Adidas but are not as dependent on retailers as smaller labels. You run many of your own shops.

Even medium-sized companies like Ortovox do not have too much scope to stand by the merchants: “We support the dealers as much as possible. On the other hand, of course, we also have to pay our suppliers, ”says Schneidermeier.

Typically, the company leader would sit with dealers in May to discuss spring 2021 orders. Tailor Meier believes that this is currently not even an option.

Because of the crisis, the manager has meanwhile also adjusted the contracts with the dealers: temporarily, they can sell the Ortovox equipment on platforms such as Amazon. With all aversion to the Internet giant: At the moment the dealers can use every turnover, no matter where it comes from.

More: The big discount battle begins in retail.

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Dolzer tailors have to close again after renovation

Munich Everything was done. “We were model students,” says Thomas Selkirk. The company was restructured, the costs reduced, and an investor with fresh capital was won. On March 16, the Dolzer tailors were released from the bankruptcy proceedings. More than 400 jobs in Germany and the Czech Republic were saved. But only two days later, the 18 branches had to be closed due to the corona pandemic.

And now owner Selkirk is sitting at home in his library, shirt and jacket made in-house, trying to save what can be saved. “We can hold it out for a few weeks,” he says, “but it will be tight with a second or third shutdown.” He hopes for a KfW aid loan. However, only companies that were in good health at the end of 2019 should be supported. But at that time the Lower Franconian company was in the middle of the bankruptcy proceedings.

It is unclear whether it is now – actually successfully renovated – entitled to state aid. “It cannot be right that a good 400 jobs in a company that is currently healthy are now endangered again simply because the legislature – albeit unintentionally – did not have important special cases in view,” said Christian Graf Brockdorff, ex-administrator at Dolzer and Partner at the law firm BBL. “The companies here need to quickly adapt the regulations.”

Born in England, Selkirk worked for Roland Berger and PwC after studying in Oxford, but his own company was always his dream. In 1995 he took over the company founded in 1963 as the Adolf Dolzer clothing factory. The company employs made-to-measure manufacturers who measure customers using a standard size system. Customers can then put together their own personal garment from certain models and fabrics, which is manufactured in the Czech Republic.

Business has not gotten any easier – it is not only in start-ups that T-shirts are worn more often today instead of tailor-made jackets. However, under Selkirk, Dolzer developed into the market leader in its segment. And so he wanted to withdraw a bit in 2018 and brought in an external managing director. But he did not understand the processes and let the costs get out of hand. When Selkirk came back and brought fresh capital, it was too late. A protective shield procedure followed, followed by bankruptcy.

New majority shareholder

The self-administered bankruptcy proceedings were lifted after just under four months. Selkirk had managed to get branches and jobs with the administrator Graf Brockdorff and the restructuring manager York Zieren from Brödermann Jahn.

In addition, Michael Bork became a new majority shareholder. The partner of the private equity firm Equistone was a Dolzer customer and was involved with private funds. “Dolzer stands for the style of the time and is a leader in quality, fit and price”, he explains his commitment. “The clothing is made absolutely sustainably, there are no warehouses with finished goods.”

At the moment, however, the employees are on short-time work; only in Břeclav in the Czech Republic do 20 employees still make masks and protective coats. Existing customers whose dimensions are known can reorder clothes, the online shop is also open.

But it’s not the time for shopping. “We did everything we could to get out of the misery,” says Selkirk, but now the book of action has been taken out of his hands. He did everything: If the shutdown ends after Easter, he has a chance. Otherwise he is dependent on help from the state and banks.

More: Corona is putting many fashion companies in trouble.

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The fashion industry is breaking the middle

Times are difficult for the entire German economy. And it is also understandable that everyone who can apply for government aid to survive the corona crisis. This applies in particular to the German fashion industry. Companies of Gerry weber via Bogner to Boss suffer particularly from the fact that all shops in Europe are closed.

The fashion industry is one of the big losers in the pandemic. Because if you no longer drive to the office, visit theaters, restaurants or go on vacation, you don’t feel like buying a new outfit – not even in the online shop. In the home office, part of the full wardrobe is enough, especially if you switch off the video function during the conference call.

The state-prescribed shutdown is bitter for the fashion companies. There is currently little hope that anything will change so quickly. Because the willingness to buy should hardly increase in the coming months. It can be expected that when life returns to normal, people will spend money on a lot, but not on new clothes. Short-time work or unemployment of hundreds of thousands put a considerable strain on the household budget.

However, the corona crisis is likely to be particularly difficult for some fashion companies: These are the companies from the middle of the fashion market. It meets well-known names like Gerry Weber, esprit and Tom Tailor or S.Oliver. All companies that offer mid-price t-shirts, dresses and trousers. In the past few years, they have failed to develop strategies to defend themselves against the brutal change in the fashion market.

Because they are attacked from two sides: from below by discounters like Primark, Kik and the grocery discounters Aldi and Lidl – and from above by premium and luxury brands like Marc O’Polo, Tommy Hilfiger and Gucci. A dangerous grip.

The trend to expensive or cheap in the fashion industry has been going on for some time. The discount and premium and luxury segments have been growing fastest for years. This trend is likely to be exacerbated by the corona pandemic. Either people spend as little money on clothing as possible, or they are willing to have their skirt and trousers cost significantly more. But they also demand more value for it: higher quality, perfect service, a better brand image.

Large retailers also under pressure

All providers who move between the two extremes have a hard time and lose market share. Many fashion companies are therefore trying to escape and try to upgrade their image and collection. However, this is expensive and takes a lot of time, as the example of Esprit shows. The company has been undergoing permanent renovation for years and has tried several times to improve its image with large advertising campaigns – with little success. A few days ago, Esprit had to register for self-administration.

For brands from the middle of the market, the situation is becoming more acute because important sales channels are also struggling with problems: what happens when the large operators of department stores such as Karstadt Kaufhof or Peek & Cloppenburg close branches after the corona crisis or downsize?

Because the big retailers themselves are under massive pressure to change their business concept in order to survive. It is no longer enough to set up a coffee bar, a mobile phone charging station or a cozy corner for the little ones to lure online customers back to their shops.

The buying experience must be in the foreground

They only come when retailers score with personal service, a selected collection that is not available on every corner and an intelligent combination of online and offline shopping. Above all, they must succeed in making their business a real meeting place, where it is not just a matter of selling jackets, handbags or sneakers.

The buying experience must be in the foreground, as Breuninger or the Kadewe Group demonstrate. The motto also applies in retail: he has to choose between expensive or cheap.
The fashion industry must not go any further when it comes to sustainability. It is not enough to compete with each other with new seals for green fashion. Instead of throwing more and more organic cotton onto the market, for example, it makes more sense to improve the quality of the collections – according to the motto: less is more.

That would also be an opportunity to reduce the discount madness in the industry to a healthy level. This would even help some fashion companies from the middle of the market to survive in the post-Corona era with new concepts.

More: After Adidas and Deichmann, other companies announce that they will pay less or no rent.

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Zalando slips into the red

Zalando

According to Zalando, there is an adjusted operating loss of more than 28 million euros in the first quarter.


(Photo: dpa)

The coronavirus pandemic hits Zalando, Europe’s largest online fashion retailer. The Berlin-based company announced on Monday evening that an adjusted operating loss of well over 28 million euros would result in the first quarter. The annual forecast is also no longer maintainable.

That is why Zalando now humble. Expenditures and investments as well as the financial planning have been adapted to the new circumstances, the board wrote in a letter to the employees. No details were given.

Zalando is launching a number of initiatives to save the business. Until the end of May, new and existing retailers who sell their goods via the Zalando platform do not pay a commission.

In addition, the company listed in the MDax wants to take 100 million euros in hand to pay partners before the contractually agreed deadline and thus keep them liquid.

The Zalando board referred to the founding of the company in the 2008 financial crisis and the experience gained since then: “Even in this challenging time, there are many reasons to be confident. We are convinced that the investments we have made in the past decade have created all the conditions necessary to weather this crisis well. ”

Zalando gives concrete insight into the first quarter on April 16. On average, analysts had forecast sales growth of 19 percent and an adjusted operating loss of 28 million euros for the first quarter.

According to Zalando, this will not be possible. In the same period of the previous year, growth of 15 percent and an operating profit of five million euros were enough.

For the year as a whole, Zalando will now perform significantly worse than in 2019, when revenues rose by 20.3 percent. The group only wants to make a new forecast if it is foreseeable how the coronavirus pandemic will develop. Due to the crisis, the Annual General Meeting scheduled for May 20 is also postponed.

More: The German fashion industry is demanding a liquidity fund of 850 million euros.

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Suspension of rental payments: Adidas outrages customers

Munich, Dusseldorf It was the best year in our history, ”Kasper Rorsted boasted in mid-March when he presented the results for 2019. He confidently added: “We kept what we promised.” Adidas-Chef is rarely at a loss for powerful words – including a clear compass.

And that is exactly why he and his company have now got into a very special shitstorm: When the corona crisis also hit Herzogenaurach, the Dane was forced to suspend the rent payments from his shops, wherever this is now legally possible. Despite billions in reserves. Rorsted was certain of outrage.

Like Adidas, many German and international groups are now doing it. All of their stores are closed due to the pandemic, so they want to cut costs as quickly as possible. Local rivals too puma does not want to transfer the rent for the time being, as well as chain stores like Deichmann with 1,500 shops in this country, HM with 460 shops in the Federal Republic as well as the electronics chain Mediamarkt and Saturn.

But no company is criticized for this decision as much as the sneaker manufacturer Adidas. A storm of outrage culminated on Twitter, which was by no means carried only by young trendsetters. “I always thought that managers also had social responsibility,” said automotive expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer. Such “wild west capitalism” would make companies an enemy: “Terrible.”

Politicians such as Federal Minister of Justice Christine Lambrecht also regulated Rorsted: “If financially strong companies simply no longer pay their rents, this is indecent and unacceptable,” she said in Berlin. The Corona Aid Laws provide no basis for this. It continues to apply: “Of course, tenants have to pay their rent. If they actually experience serious payment difficulties as a result of the crisis, they can only be terminated for a limited period. “

And Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil said in the Handelsblatt interview: “I think Adidas’ behavior is irresponsible and I have no understanding for it. Adidas has made high profits in the past few years. “Now everyone should shoulder the crisis together, and nobody should duck away.

It is true that landlords cannot terminate the lease in the period from April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020, provided that the rental debt is based on the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic. In principle, however, the tenant’s obligation to pay the rent remains.

What particularly annoys consumers on social networks: Adidas is very healthy and is now relieving the burden of the crisis on others – at least that is the accusation. Indeed, the brand with the three stripes was last shiny. The profit climbed last year by twelve percent to a good 1.9 billion euros.

It only affects 26 Adidas stores in Germany

As of December 31, the company had almost 900 million euros in cash minus all debts. The dividend should therefore increase by 15 percent, and Kasper Rorsted plans to distribute a total of EUR 800 million to the shareholders. CFO Harm Ohlmeyer also announced a share buyback two and a half weeks ago, value: up to one billion euros.

In the meantime, however, the situation has changed dramatically, Rorsted argues. Business is still reasonably normal in only three countries worldwide: China, South Korea and Japan. In Europe, North America, Latin America, many emerging markets and parts of Asia, however, the stores are closed. There, however, the group generates 60 percent of sales in normal times.

But that’s not all: there are only 26 stores in Germany, which are mainly rented out by large companies. Only four contracts affect private individuals, and these are exempt from the deferral, the group said on request. The landlords concerned, especially real estate companies and insurance companies, are very cooperative.

The thing has nothing to do with the many thousands of sports retailers through which Adidas sells its shirts, shorts and shoes in this country. Adidas has a total of 2500 stores worldwide. The deferral of the rent is also just one of many measures that Adidas must take as a precaution to protect the company and its 60,000 employees.

Puma, number three in the sporting goods industry, is similar to Adidas Nike and his Franconian arch rival. The stationary trade came to a complete standstill. It is still not foreseeable when Puma can start operating again.

“There is no turnover that is necessary to pay the rent for our shops,” said a spokeswoman. As of April, the sneaker manufacturer will therefore suspend rental payments for the time being. The company will try to find a viable solution in conversation with the landlords in Germany.

Puma is hardly criticized for this, Adidas, however, very violently. The label has even faced boycott calls since the weekend.

Perfumery chain Douglas examines the use of aid programs

For example, the two SPD MEPs Katarina Barley and Timo Wölken announced on Twitter that they would no longer buy from Adidas anymore. “As a global corporation with a profit of 3.2 billion, exploiting a protection rule for tenants in need of existence is shabby,” wrote Barley.

Wölken tweeted that the behavior of the sporting goods manufacturer was “under all sow”. Other consumers expressed similar comments.

Adidas is actually still in a comparatively comfortable situation. Other companies are already in real trouble. So the electronics retailer wants Ceconomy Apply for financial aid from the state development bank KfW because of the losses in the corona crisis. Ceconomy is the parent company of Mediamarkt and Saturn.

The Düsseldorf business has been sluggish for years. The perfumery chain Douglas has also already announced that it is considering “participating in the announced national and regional aid programs for affected companies”.

However, it is not only the large corporations that suffer from the closings, but also medium-sized companies such as the fashion company Marc O’Polo from Stephanskirchen in Upper Bavaria. Their boss Dieter Holzer is also trying to cut costs quickly: “We are talking to our landlords to find economically viable solutions for both sides,” the manager told Handelsblatt on Sunday.

The German Fashion Council, the lobbying association of the German fashion industry, wants massive help from the federal government to prevent the store from dying due to the pandemic. In an extensive catalog of claims on the crisis, the organization proposes to suspend and defer rent payments. These could be secured by bank guarantees, the proposal said.

The Adidas board has temporarily cut his salary by half. CEO Rorsted only waives 80,000 euros a month.

More: Hubertus Heil warns against loosening the measures in the corona crisis too quickly. He would like retailers to commit to reasonable collective agreements.

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Fashion companies demand liquidity funds of 850 million euros

The closed department store of the west in Berlin

The fashion industry cannot compensate for the loss of turnover in the stationary shops through online trading.


(Photo: dpa)

Dusseldorf The fashion industry is raising the alarm. “We now urgently need liquidity, otherwise the existence of the German fashion trade and the fashion industry is massively threatened”, medium-sized companies demand in a joint statement. Signatories to the call include fashion brands from Falke to Marc Cain and Marc O’Polo to S.Oliver.

“We don’t have any sales due to the closed shops. But at the same time, we now have to pay for the goods for the coming autumn-winter season, ”says Daniel Terberger, CEO of fashion service provider Katag AG from Bielefeld, describing the dilemma. The companies are demanding from politicians a liquidity fund of 850 million euros.

The industry representatives are convinced that this could secure the liquidity of the top 30 textile industrial companies in Germany, which represent 60 percent of sales in German specialist retailers, for the next six months. They want to be able to grant their retailers payment terms of up to 180 days. “It’s not about a grant,” explains Dieter Holzer, CEO of Marc O’Polo. “We want to repay most of the money from the fund after it expires.”

Katag boss Terberger sees the fund as “helping people to help themselves”. The industry assumes ten percent of the liability risk. According to the initiators, the management of the desired liquidity fund should take over an independent auditing firm.

The federal government had promised support for small and medium-sized companies through loans from the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). However, from the point of view of the fashion industry, this help may come too late or may not reach it.

Online trading cannot compensate for the loss of sales

The initiators of the call from the fashion industry fear that the structures of the city centers could collapse as a result of the corona crisis. “Not everyone is aware of the important role that medium-sized fashion retailers play in city centers,” said Dieter Holzer. “If many medium-sized retailers fail in the corona crisis, the loss of attractiveness in the city centers is great.”

Criticism that financially stricken fashion companies are now calling for state aid does not apply to Terberger and Holzer. “It’s not about supporting weak companies, but healthy medium-sized companies,” Terberger made clear.

He assumes that fashion retailers will be able to gradually reopen their stores in Germany over the next four to six weeks. “However, if that should take three to four months, we have completely different problems,” said Terberger. Because the online trade cannot compensate for the loss of sales in the thousands of stationary shops.

This was how it was in the fashion trade after the first week of closure Google– Searches for fashion online shops did not increase, as the German fashion institute in Cologne states. Instead, the search queries dropped Zalando by 29 percent, by Bonprix by 37 and by About you by 27 percent.

The fashion industry sees the liquidity fund as a first important step in solving the corona problems of the fashion industry. “In a second step, we then have to form a roundtable of the fashion trade and industry,” announced Terberger. There should be further measures in consultation with the politicians, such as additional Sunday opening hours, to compensate for the drastic dip in sales due to Corona.

In Germany, experts estimate that a total of around two million jobs at 5000 companies depend on the fashion industry.

More: Online trading is not a sure-fire success even in the corona crisis.

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