Investor Klaus Hommels criticizes state aid for Tui and Adidas

Hamburg Venture capitalist Klaus Hommels criticizes government aid for listed companies such as Tui and Adidas. The state subsidized the corporations “with a loan, although they could simply make a capital increase, in which the mostly foreign existing investors would have to invest,” he told the Handelsblatt. “We protect foreign investors in listed companies. This is where money comes in without old investors reinvesting. “

Hommels supports the European start-up lobby United Tech of Europe. “We want to protect start-ups, not venture capitalists. Therefore, a promotional measure makes sense in which the venture capitalists refill their own money, which is then replenished by the state, ”said the founder of the venture capitalist Lakestar.

But not all young companies could survive: “I think some startups will die that were only kept artificially alive anyway. For this you concentrate on the promising ones. If the government increases such rounds, even more money could flow into better projects in the crisis. ”

Hommels calls for government co-investments in collaboration with the industry. “Therefore, we also need a relevant advocacy group in Brussels with its own ethics, which in itself ensures that no free riders appear,” he said. However, individual European venture capitalists tried to take advantage of the situation. “Some are behaving impossible. We want to counteract this at the association level. It is not about winning the crisis, ”said the 53-year-old.

He sees the crisis as an opportunity for founders to concentrate on real problems. This could help Europe to become more independent of the United States in critical infrastructure. “We cannot rely on Americans for all system-related things. Think about it: The Americans could turn off the credit card infrastructure for us at any time, ”warns Hommels.

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“Wouldn’t the biotech company Curevac be from Germans like that? SAP-Funded with founder Dietmar Hopp, the Americans would have snatched this vaccine developer out of our hands. This is a realization that is finally pervading: We have to finance our economy ourselves. ”

Read the entire interview here:

Mr. Hommels, have you postponed or canceled investment rounds yourself because of the crisis?
The most important rule for me is: A promise, also verbally, has to be kept. This is a cultural asset because we come from the land of good merchants. We continue to look at new opportunities as normal.

There is no hesitation?
Well, a no-go is when founders arrive with documents from pre-crisis times that they have not adapted to the new times. In addition, there is now a screening process for everyone: A few months ago, funding was less critical. Now there is a harder selection.

Is it bad?
On the contrary: that brings clarity. This is always the case in difficult times. In the financial crisis, for example, some of today’s very big companies were built – like Zalando, Uber and Airbnb. Why? Because their ideas are based on real needs, which are much more obvious in tough times. More modest means are then sufficient for such ideas.

In your opinion, what are these real needs at the moment?
The topic of helping – something like Nebenan.de. In addition, delivery services go through the roof. Above all, venture capitalists are given a new role. If the biotech company Curevac had not been financed by Germans like SAP co-founder Dietmar Hopp, the Americans would have snatched this vaccine developer out of our hands. This is a realization that is finally pervading: We have to finance our economy ourselves.

Do we not have to count on fewer rounds of financing from overseas simply because travel is currently hardly possible?
On the other hand, the acceptance of video calls has increased. Before Corona, I would have said that you should have met in person first – that’s always better because you get a feel for whether it fits on a human level. In the meantime, however, it is totally accepted to only meet virtually.

Would you make a deal if you only knew people by video?
Meanwhile yes.

They have brought together start-up associations from several European countries – probably also via video calls – and are calling for more coordination on the current rescue plans. Why?
Many small associations are not heard in Brussels, so we have to speak with one voice there.

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Isn’t your industry lobbying much better than in previous crises? In Germany in particular, start-ups were included in the rescue packages very early on.
Yes that’s true. Through the start-up association, we led Christian Miele with Jörg Kukies, Secretary of State for Finance, Thomas Jarzombek, Digital Representative, and KfW Capital’s Chief, Dr. Jörg Goschin, ideas exchanged. The three do a great job in this difficult situation. However, aid for start-ups is basically not government programs, but is based on initiatives by individuals. Just like Kukies and Jarzombek in Germany, individual politicians are doing this in other European countries. As associations at European level, we want to provide you with an overview and contacts.

How do you start?
First we put an overview of the respective national programs online. We don’t want to evaluate, we want to enable a comparison and exchange of ideas.

Why is it needed?
We need it to prevent deadweight effects. Otherwise no politician can assess what the relevant demands are. That is why we also need a relevant advocacy group in Brussels with its own ethics, which in itself ensures that no free riders appear.

Do you see black sheep in the industry?
Yes, there are also venture capitalists in Germany who no longer stick to existing, written financing commitments in the crisis. Some are behaving impossible. We want to counteract this at the association level. We are not concerned with being crisis winners. Therefore, the aid programs also take some time, because it is very complicated to prevent deadweight effects.

Nevertheless, there is criticism of state aid for start-up financiers. After all, there is already the word risk in the risk capital asset class – and every investor should expect to lose his entire stake.
At first glance this is understandable, but actually pure polemic. Have a look who really should receive billions of state aid: the listed companies Adidas and Tui. But there are hardly any German shareholders behind it. The state supports this with a loan, although they could simply make a capital increase, in which the mostly foreign existing investors would have to invest. In the case of listed companies, we protect foreign investors. This is where money comes in without old investors reinvesting. However, we want to protect start-ups, not venture capitalists. Therefore, a promotional measure makes sense, in which the venture capitalists refill their own money, which is then replenished by the state.

Couldn’t venture capitalists simply inject enough own money, which is still available in most funds?
We plan with different scenarios when we finance start-ups. A reserve is always calculated. But such a lockdown case, in which sales are zero for months, is of course not factored in, so we technically don’t have the money at our disposal. The start-ups therefore need state aid in order to survive a break of several months unscathed – for this special situation alone.

Doesn’t that help you as a venture capitalist?
No, it’s about the survival of innovative start-ups. I myself could just sit back and relax. But we go in full, help the companies, do 1000 things. We are even considering helping KfW Capital with personnel. It’s actually nice that we can now do something together with colleagues like Holtzbrinck Ventures and Eventures. It is a clean event.

They have long advocated that European start-ups should be less dependent on money from the United States and Asia. Do you think that the renationalization tendencies in the corona crisis, for example with closed borders, bring the topic more into the general consciousness?
Yes, because we are now seeing what such a sell-out means: If we could not independently support start-ups in Europe, America could have stolen the German vaccine invention from Curevac. This concerns us all and certainly contributes to the general awareness of the need for action.

The Americans deny that. And wouldn’t that be an exception that occurs every 100 years anyway?
No, that also applies to artificial intelligence, climate issues and many other systemically relevant fields. Do we want to fight the pandemic of movement data from Google and Apple be dependent? We cannot rely on Americans for all system-related matters. Think about it: The Americans could turn off the credit card infrastructure for us at any time.

Does the crisis raise awareness of this?
If we do nothing there, we cannot act autonomously and become technically dependent. That mustn’t happen.

The idea of ​​economic self-sufficiency has long since been a thing of the past in times of globalization, and many corporations operate globally without discrimination. Why should it be different in the start-up area?
I am not concerned with start-ups, but with system-relevant infrastructures. However, these are also developed by start-ups.

The alternative would be an even stronger anchoring of free trade, so that national egotisms are excluded – for example a new edition of the failed transatlantic free trade agreement TTIP.
I would have agreed with you when the President was still called Barack Obama. But at the moment, the politics of the Americans are not reliable.

Do you think that the crisis can lead to a stronger European response, for example in the area of ​​start-up financing?
In any case. There is now a chance to make the voice of start-ups audible in Brussels and explain what kind of regulation we need after the crisis.

How fast do you think the situation will return to normal?
I can’t say that – at the moment everything depends on how quickly we get a vaccination.

Do you dare to predict how severe the slump will be?

I think some startups will die that were only kept artificially alive anyway. For this you concentrate on the promising ones. If the government increases such rounds, even more money could flow into better projects in the crisis.

Mr. Hommels, thank you for the interview.

More: Dependency on foreign donors is becoming a problem for start-ups

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Varta shares become the game ball of hedge funds

Dusseldorf The German Leading index Dax closed with a slight plus on Thursday. It closed 0.2 percent higher at 10,300 points. By early afternoon, the Dax had consistently posted a plus of around one percent. Then, however, he had turned negative in the meantime and then only recovered slightly.

In the afternoon, new, weak economic data was presented in Washington: Initial jobless claims last week totaled 5.245 million, a figure of 5.105 million was expected. The US stock exchanges were then initially turned negative. Recently, however, only the Dow Jones was slightly below the previous day’s level.

“The labor market in the USA is particularly hard hit by the pandemic and the associated restrictions on public life,” said the analysts at Landesbank Helaba. A total of approximately 22 million people have applied for financial support in the past four weeks.

The Philadelphia Region sentiment barometer has also weakened significantly and is even well below expectations. The index had already deteriorated significantly in March and is now at the lowest level since the mid-1980s. According to the Helaba analysts, economic worries are becoming greater as a result of the data release.

The Dax had reversed yesterday after a five-day recovery and went out of business with a minus of 3.9 percent at 10,279 points. According to chart technology, the Dax achieved a spot landing: from 10,279 points, the index started a rally in December 2018, which continued until a record high in February 2020.

A particularly interesting share is that of Varta, because the game of hedge funds with the title apparently continues. Today, Thursday, the paper rose by 6.7 percent to EUR 72.75, leading the list of winners in the MDax by far. This is no surprise, even if the share certificate at the close of trading was only 3.8 percent up: Five hedge funds are now under pressure to buy around 2.6 million shares. They may have started this Thursday.

Because the funds sold the Varta share short, as it is said in technical terms. So you’re betting on falling prices on paper. To this end, they have borrowed and sold 2.6 million Varta shareholders such as investment funds. But in order to return these shares, you have to buy them again beforehand. Of course, if possible at a lower rate.

With an average trading volume of around 272,000 shares per day in the past month, this buyback has to be carefully dosed so that the Varta price does not rise rapidly and puts pressure on the hedge funds. Because they want to buy back the papers cheaply.

Incidentally, this also explains the drop in yesterday’s Varta share of just under nine percent on Wednesday: the hedge fund Tiger Global increased its short sale rate from 1.06 percent on Tuesday to 1.16 percent on Wednesday.

With 40,421 million freely tradable shares, he borrowed an additional 40,421 papers and sold them on the day. With a total trading volume of 320,000 units on Wednesday, this sale is likely to have influenced price development.

With such figures, an analyst should say: only the fundamental values ​​are important.

According to the investor survey conducted by the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, the Dax is likely to buy again below 10,000 pointssays Joachim Goldberg after evaluating the survey on Wednesday evening. According to this survey, the mood has dropped significantly despite the rising prices, the Sentiment Index of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange has even dropped to the lowest level since the beginning of the 2002 survey.

To put it simply, negative sentiment is – according to sentiment analysis – a contraindicator because many investors have already sold.

The behavioral economist is also expecting further demand if this recovery rally should continue. “Above all beyond the 11,000 mark” there could be a sudden, rapid rise in prices (“short squeeze”) because investors would then have to buy more. But the Dax is still a long way from this point.

Look at the individual values

Zalando: The coronavirus pandemic is affecting Europe’s largest online fashion retailer. As a result of the weaker growth wants Zalando save now in the current year. Marketing and general costs are to be reduced by 250 million euros and investments by 100 million euros. Nevertheless, the company listed in the MDax average index wants to stick to its original plans and expand its luxury segment and also include second-hand goods in its range. Investors are happy about this news, the stock gained 6.2 percent on Thursday.

Easyjet: The company sees itself prepared for a longer standstill of its fleet and is pleased with its shareholders. At the start of trading, the paper gained more than ten percent and was the frontrunner on the London Stock Exchange. Most recently, however, the paper was down 2.5 percent. The low-cost airline expects to be able to survive a longer break. In addition, the bookings for winter are better than last year.

Look at other asset classes

The gold price put in its upward trend a little breather, but was recently back up 0.4 percent at $ 1,723 per troy ounce.

A side note: Because of the corona virus, the US Mint has to temporarily close its plant in New York. According to the Commerzbank– Commodity analysts are short of gold coins in particular and are distorting the gold market in the United States.

According to a coin dealer, the premiums for gold coins are already five to ten percent above the spot price of gold. After a long dry spell, the Americans bought as many gold coins in March as they did last in November 2016 at 151.5 thousand ounces, according to data from the US Mint. Demand continues: in April it was 56.5 thousand ounces again.

The bond market clearly shows: The decisions of the finance ministers last Thursday to deal with the corona crisis have no effect. The government in Rome will not apply for an ESM package. Accordingly, yields on Italian and other government bonds have risen significantly again.

Although the yield on a ten-year government bond falls to 1.805 percent, the market should soon test the reaction of the European Central Bank: when will it react to this with higher bond purchases? The yield spread (spread) between a German and an Italian government bond has increased to 240 basis points in the past few days, but is currently only at 228 basis points.

Oil prices recovered slightly on Thursday from the significant losses of the previous days. In the afternoon, a barrel (159 liters) of North Sea Brent cost $ 27.63. The price of a barrel of American WTI was little changed at $ 19.97. In the meantime, the price of US oil had dropped to $ 19.20, the lowest level since 2002.

“The oil price is at a low point, but the market could pick up again in June”

The oversupply of crude oil continues in the meantime, and the cut in production agreed by leading oil nations does not come into force until May. As the U.S. Department of Energy announced on Wednesday, stocks in the U.S. have grown significantly more than expected last week. According to the Ministry of Energy, inventories rose by 19.2 million to 503.6 million barrels. This is the strongest increase ever measured.

At the same time however, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) predicted a drastic drop in oil consumption due to the corona crisis. As can be seen from the monthly report published in Vienna on Thursday, the oil cartel is expecting the weakest demand for Opec oil in the second quarter in around 30 years.

Dealers still expect no short-term relaxation on the oil market. “In the short term, the market will remain flooded,” said Torbjorn Tornqvist, managing director of the oil dealer Gunvor Group.

What the chart technique says

According to technical analysis, the leading German index is now testing the important key support below the 10,300 point zone. On the one hand, the striking low of December 2018 with 10,279 points is important, the starting point for the rally, which lasted until the record high in February 2020. Just below that there are so-called price gaps for which there were no quotes this year. The last gap would be closed at a Dax level of 10,097 points.

The recent recovery rally led the Dax from 8255 points in mid-March to a new five-week high last Tuesday at 10,820 points. This rally remains intact as long as the stock market barometer remains above 9235 points.

If this upward trend remains intact, the next targets would be 11,030 and then 11,266 points, the August 2019 interim low.

Here is the page with the DAX course, here is the current tops & flops in the Dax. Current Short sales of investors can be found in our Short sales database.

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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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Is Amazon leaving the corona crisis with sustainable growth?


Uninterrupted demand: A courier delivers Amazon packages in New York City.
Image: Reuters

The trading platform provides customers with the most important things in Corona times and expands their market shares. But growth also poses problems. It is not yet clear what online retail will look like after the crisis.

Whe has to stay at home, orders online – so far, so understandable. Nevertheless, not all online retailers are automatically among the winners of the virus crisis. This was shown on Monday by a current consumer survey by the online trade association BEVH: According to this, sales from online sales in March fell by almost 20 percent compared to the same month last year.

Bastian Benrath

Roland Lindner

While people are ordering fewer goods overall, there is much greater demand for the products that appear important in the crisis. Some types of goods have therefore increased significantly, for example groceries, drugstore items, hardware store goods and medicines ordered online. Sales of the latter grew by almost 90 percent compared to March 2019, those of food by 56 percent. The sale of fashion, on the other hand, otherwise the product group with the highest online sales, dropped from 854 million euros to just 552 million euros.

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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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Dax survives a slide and closes 1.2 percent in positive territory

Dusseldorf The Dax continued its slight upward trend from the previous day on Tuesday: the leading German index closed 1.2 percent up at 9936 points. In the morning, the leading German index had even reached 10,096 points, but was unable to hold the five-digit number.

In the meantime, however, the Dax had slipped almost 400 points and was trading in negative territory before working its way up again in the afternoon with the opening of Wall Street. Probably had foreign investors triggered the price slide. The euro also fell against the dollar and subsequently recovered to the same extent as the Dax.

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Online trading: higher delivery fees for fashion from the Internet

DGermany’s online fashion retailers will no longer be able to avoid raising delivery charges for long. Experts are counting on this. “I am convinced that delivery fees for end customers will increase,” Sven Kromer, managing director of the consulting firm Kurt Salmon, told WELT.

The problem: German customers have been spoiled by low delivery fees in the past, so companies are afraid of making increases. However, with the growing business volume, the cost pressure for online shops also increases. The trend has intensified in the past few months.

Digital sales in fashion retail have been booming for a long time. Last year, according to figures from the Federal Association for E-Commerce and Mail Order (bevh), the shops generated a good 18.7 billion euros – twice as much as six years earlier.

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While hardly any food is returned, every second item of clothing is returned

Recently, the pace of growth had even increased. According to the bevh, the annual rate of increase in 2019 was 11.4 percent, compared to plus 7.7 percent in the previous year. But the strong growth harbors a dark side: Shops and logistics service providers find it increasingly difficult to process the growing amount of parcels and packages quickly and to deliver them to the right address as quickly as usual.

This is shown by Kurt Salmon’s latest “omnichannel fulfillment” study, part of Accenture Strategy, which deals with the logistical processing of customer orders. “More than a third of all online deliveries during the pre-Christmas season were delivered late,” is the sobering conclusion after the highlight of the season.

On average, dresses, coats and pants were on the road for 4.8 days, about the same time as the year before. The dealers would break their own promises en masse, because more than half now state a specific delivery date when buying – which then often cannot be kept.

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PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 22: A Boeing 737-800 BCF (Boeing Converted Freighter) is marked 'Prime Air' as part of Amazon Prime's freight aircraft during the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France on June 22, 2019. Mustafa Yalcin / Anadolu Agency | No distribution to resellers.

A year earlier, only a third had ventured so far with his commitments. A comparison with previous years shows how much the quality of deliveries has deteriorated. Standard deliveries of clothing and shoes were usually on the way for three days.

According to the survey this year, the winner in the race for the shortest delivery time is Amazon. Prime customers received five out of six items purchased on the day of the order. Kromer expects this lead to be difficult to achieve in the future.

“Amazon is in control of the entire supply chain right down to the customer. This enables the company to better control the flow of goods because it has all the necessary data. Amazon knows what is in the packages, it knows when customers are likely to be at home and which route the driver should optimally take. ”

Nike is also well in the race with a delivery time of one day. Nine other retailers, including Bonprix, Adler and Marc O’Polo, deliver the goods to customers within two days.

Corona crisis is the deep blow for the industry

In contrast, the Berlin mail order company Zalando seems to be a victim of its own growth success in terms of delivery times. In 2019, sales skyrocketed by more than 20 percent to just under 6.5 billion euros. In the study, the German market leader in online fashion with a delivery time of five days is slightly below average.

It remains to be seen to what extent the current corona pandemic will spur online retailers’ business. The classic fashion shops are closed until further notice due to an order to protect against infection. According to estimates by the German Trade Association (HDE), a total of up to 300,000 shops of all kinds are currently closed, including numerous clothing stores, boutiques and shoe shops.

“The situation is dramatic. Even if the trade is creative in this situation, a large number of companies without state emergency aid will not be able to survive the crisis, ”said HDE general manager Stefan Genth. If the inner cities and outlets on the green field do not recover from the low blow, the market share of e-commerce would continue to increase.

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But the digital distribution channels do not see themselves as profiting from the crisis at the moment. The mood to buy was generally depressed, a bevh spokeswoman said: “People have different intentions than buying the latest sneakers.” In some cases, sales are also declining in online retail.

However, as soon as the business switches back to normal mode after the crises have been smoothed out, the old structural problems in delivery will come to the fore again. According to the Kurt Salmon study, logistics service providers such as DHL, Hermes or DPD have raised their prices for business customers, in some cases noticeably.

The carriers complained above all about a shortage of drivers, which would not be remedied quickly even with rising wages. But only in a few cases have retailers dared to pass the higher costs on to customers.

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As in the previous year, more than half offer free delivery above a certain order value or without any minimum sales. Where postage is requested, it is practically at the previous year’s level with an average of 4.81 euros for standard deliveries and 10.88 in express delivery.

Returns remain free of charge for 94 of 100 online retailers. Hardly any other European country would get online customers that cheap.

Differentiation of delivery fees as a solution

Many traders shy away from increasing delivery fees because they fear severe market share losses. Returns fees are already on the tabular list of damaging practices for most companies.

That would be the last option to hide the rising shipping costs in higher product prices – but such attempts, the relentless price transparency on the Internet sets narrow limits right from the start.

As a way out of the misery, Kromer suggests a much clearer differentiation of delivery fees than before: “From a company’s perspective, it makes sense to continue to supply good customers free of charge. On the other hand, if you only order in the sale, experience has shown that you send half back and then asks for everything as quickly as possible, you may soon have to pay more ”, the expert expects.

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Amazon logo on a group logistics center in New York.

For customers, for whom delivery to their own doorstep will soon be too expensive, an increasingly practical alternative is also developing: order from your own armchair and pick up the goods yourself in a branch.

Click & Collect, as the industry jargon is called, saves the providers the particularly costly “last mile”. Two out of three retailers already offer this option, and the average delivery time of 3.7 days is already one day less than with conventional home delivery. Networking the systems, says Kurt Salmon, is working better and better.

Does this mean the end of free returns?

We order more and more goods online – but we also send back more and more. In a current study, economic researchers are now demanding a legally required return shipping fee.

Source: WELT / Peter Haentjes

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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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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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For purchase in specialist shops and on the Internet

MIt doesn’t take us long to wait: if you think you can get a bike that is characterized by “durability, safety and ride comfort” for 199 euros thanks to direct sales on the Internet at an “unbeatable price”, you can’t help . There is simply no reasonable “Twentyniner Hardtail” for 249 euros and also for 349 euros no racing bike that deserves this name. If you order something like this and get it delivered “at least 85 percent pre-assembled”, you can think about it when you’re ready to go: Why are more than two thirds of the bicycles sold in Germany purchased from specialist retailers and only about a quarter online?

This is certainly related to the fact that the Zalando system, when applied to the purchase of bicycles, is somewhat cumbersome: ordering a sweater in three sizes and only keeping the right one poses less financial and logistical problems than trying to do so Way to get the right bike. Reputable senders offer much more advice on their bikes before placing an order than is generally the case online. But in many cases, going to a specialist dealer also results in an order – with varying degrees of success, as two experiences show.

Wheel number one: the Diamant 135. It goes as it goes, man falls in love. The wheel is a “collection wheel” from the traditional Chemnitz brand Diamant. Every year the company, which has been running Villiger for years after 2002 under the aegis of Villiger, brings to the American Trek Bicycle Corp. heard, a nostalgic model. The frame material is steel. The brothers Friedrich and Wilhelm Nevoigt started with the so-called diamond steel in 1885 as producers of nibs and components for hosiery machines. Hence the name of the bike brand, whose first bike came on the market in 1895. Diamant claims technical innovations for itself: The Nevoigts are said to have been the first to move from the block chain that was common at the time to the double roller chain that was used and developed in principle until today. The number 135 of the type designation of the collection wheel marks the years of the extremely eventful history of the company.

Patria Copenhagen





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In the neighborhood of a university town in central Hesse, there is a dealer who stocks diamond. No, he does not have the 135, he will not have it either, but of course he can order it. It is the end of November, the computer says, the desired size will be available again in March. Diamond is considered a reliable supplier. The bike will be ordered in December, on February 19 the dealer emails that it can be picked up. Cost: almost 1300 euros. As far as the small frame size S is concerned, the dealer has relied on the customer’s request after a side glance. The buyer seemed to know what he needed.

“S – Based on your body measurements, we recommend this frame size,” says the buyer of the Diamant 135, for example, the “Perfect Positioning System” from Canyon. At the Koblenz direct distributor, after some good advice on how to measure, you enter your height and stride length on the Internet after you have previously decided on a bike from the extensive model portfolio. Then you can find the numbers of the frame geometry in a long list and read how much

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