17 branches in Austria: Fashion chain Esprit files for bankruptcy

Fashion chain Esprit intends to file for self-administered bankruptcy for Ratingen and six companies based in Europa Holding at the Düsseldorf District Court on Wednesday. The affected GmbH is Esprit’s parent company in Germany, France, Belgium, Austria, the Scandinavian countries, Poland and Great Britain.

According to the company register, the chain has 17 branches in Austria and employed around 200 people in 2022. In 2022, a negative pre-tax result (EGT) of 0.01 million euros was reported with sales of around 37 million euros. Esprit is represented in Linz, Wells and Bad Ischl.

“The aim is to restructure Esprit’s European business, which is largely managed from Germany, and position it for the future,” the company said. There are already discussions with a financial investor who has expressed interest in the trademark rights for Europe and wants to continue the operational business. Esprit already filed for bankruptcy in Belgium and Switzerland in March.

Already bankrupt in 2020

This is the second bankruptcy proceeding for Esprit in four years. During the 2020 corona pandemic, the fashion chain took refuge under the protection umbrella of bankruptcy law due to already closed stores, laid off a third of its workforce and closed 100 branches. 1,500 employees still work at companies affected by the renewed bankruptcy.

Business operations will continue “until further notice”. Parent company Esprit Holdings is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, but the focus of the business is in Europe. Germany alone has recently accounted for more than half of sales.

Renovators were brought on board

Esprit has brought in bankruptcy experts Christian Gerloff and Christian Stoffler, who are known for their expertise in restructuring, particularly in the fashion industry (Escada, Jerry Weber, Adler Fashion Stores), as reorganizers.

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“Esprit is a major fashion brand known globally, but has been suffering from declining sales for some time with several restructuring and management changes,” said Gerloff. In the event of insolvency, the European business must be set up to ensure sustainable profitability.

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