Hildegard H. for more than 20 years, a customer of Gerry Weber. Her latest purchase: a dark grey mélange jacket with faux fur hood. What she’s looking forward: Instead of the original price of 199 euros you paid for only 143 euros. She waited until the promotion.

How can buy for a long time the regular customer at Gerry Weber, is questionable. Because the parent company has announced insolvency in self-administration, after negotiations with the financing banks had failed. The President of the Management now wants to try to renovate the fashion group.


regular customer. h. noted that Gerry Weber. “You could watch the decline, Yes,” she says. “The stores were smaller, but at the same time you could get Gerry in any Department store. And the advice, and partly also the quality has diminished.” In the consequence you had been willing to pay the expensive initial price for the clothes. Although Gerry Weber accompanied the 61-Year-old fashionable after all, for more than two decades.

But that is precisely one of the problems of the label. Not only for the customers that are aged, but also the brand itself. The Gerry-Weber-chief John Ehling acknowledges: “Our fashion was too stuffy and old-fashioned,” he said in a conference call with journalists on Friday afternoon.

the new fashionable target had announced Ehling already in December: “We don’t want to sell more so nailed Blazer,” he said, at the time, the “Handelsblatt”. Instead, more and more Italian nonchalance was called for.

other middle-class brands such as Tom Tailor and Esprit have too long to your clientele. The situation is so serious that top managers had to go, and its successors relentlessly settle. So, the new Esprit CEO said Anders Kristiansen, a few months after he took office: “We agree that the Esprit brand stands for nothing.” In addition to a fashionable overhaul by the group is running a comprehensive rehabilitation program. Unprofitable stores are to be dismantled closed and.

The fashion group Tom Tailor, a new boss came in 2016. He has overwritten the restructuring program is suitable with “Reset”. At Tom Tailor and the corresponding chain Bonita Points were set cancelled, shops closed, and collections.

The critical the situation is, however, in the case of Gerry Weber with its other brands, Hallhuber, Samoon and Taifun.

Because the listed companies, creditors and banks are sitting in the neck. The fashion group is according to the industry trade journal “textile industry” in promissory note creditors, with around 218 million euros in the chalk. You granted to the group in November, a postponement until the end of January. In mid-February, Gerry Weber has reported that the loss of 2018 will still be higher than feared. The main reason for the depreciation of the subsidiary brand hallhuber.

Despite the poor Figures, the chief Executive officer of Ehling wanted to convince the banks of his restructuring concept. However, the talks failed, so the company had to file for bankruptcy.

Already in the past few months, it became clear that the group is bad. In November, Gerry Weber announced that, worldwide, 900 of 6500 jobs and up to 200 branches will be eliminated. Also, the employees have to make huge concessions, there is already a framework for a so-called restructuring agreement. According to the “Haller Kreisblatt” agreed the workforce in the paper of a reduction in working time, so that the company can save on salaries. Also on your holiday money employees would forego if necessary.

Now remains to be seen how it goes in the face of insolvency. The business is to be conducted in full, it said. The financing of the fashion provider is secured according to the current state up to the year 2020.

In November, an external Manager took over with John Jenkins for the first time, the leadership in the case of Gerry Weber. He should create the turn. Founder-son, Ralf Weber, joined by the chief posts in the Supervisory Board. His father and company co-founder Gerhard Weber left the control panel. In December, the “Haller kreisblatt reported,” the family wanted to make a contribution to the renovation.

the problems come to a head at several fashion companies in the medium-price segment, for several reasons. Two of them are rather short-term in nature:

The unusually warm and long summer of 2018, has cost, first of all, the entire fashion industry sales. Because the customer went shopping in the heat less in the crowded inner cities. Discount promotions such as Black Friday have weakened, and, secondly, the end-of-year business.

in addition to these special problems, a lot of fashion corporations have a fundamental, structural Problem: in Spite of a growing online trading, the Management has set to long in stationary stores, and must now make radical sites in dense and at the same time, high investments in the online business.

This long fixation of the industry on the steady-state trade, and pure Expansion is the biggest Problem, said Martin Schulte, an industry expert at the consultancy Oliver Wyman. “The mistakes were made years ago, but the problems are now visible, as existing Budgets have been invested little in the development of the company.”

As leases for shops, ran in Germany, often over five to ten years, the sales go back there, but steadily. “From these contracts you need to buy out expensive,” says Schulte. At the same time had not been invested in the online business and the digitalization of the company enough.

a Useful technique for the digitization of some German fashion companies. So about Gerry-Weber-chief Jenkins reported that the company needed to unify the IT technology to its various online shops. So far, there are too many expensive individual solutions.

The proportion of online business sales to increase in the next five years from around 7 percent to 14 percent. The is apparently as a success.

“We will not see some brands by the end of 2019”

According to the Advisor trained many German Labels have lost the customer in addition to covetousness. “When you get to each corner of a certain brand, you the customer something Exclusive,” he says.

There are also examples of brands that have managed to halt the downward trend or even reverse it, by pulling yourself back and re-market positioning – the British Label Burberry, managed to make the already in the nineties the turnaround. Hugo Boss seems to be the Turnaround to succeed, with a clear focus on the two brands, Boss and Hugo.

For some German companies, but the rescue comes too late. “I assume that we will not see some brands by the end of 2019,” says consultant Schulte.

regular customer, Hildegard H. in any case, hopes that Gerry Weber has survived: “to Me, what would be missing,” she says. “There’s not so many brands for my age class.”

collaboration: Ann-Kathrin Nezik

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.