Fashion retailer Esprit has taken a significant step to safeguard itself against the impact of the global coronavirus outbreak by putting six of its European subsidiaries into administration. As a result of the crisis, all European stores have been closed, with most points of sale across the franchise and wholesale division also shut. To protect the solvency and liquidity of the group, the subsidiaries have filed for self-administration proceedings under German insolvency legislation. This move will allow them to restructure their liabilities and lease agreements, secure funding for salaries and pensions, and negotiate with unions for more flexible solutions.

Under German law, these protective shield proceedings will give Esprit three months to create an insolvency plan aimed at facilitating a reorganization. Despite the subsidiaries currently having liquid assets, the stringent measures implemented to halt the spread of the virus could lead to a cash shortage in the near future. While facing ongoing struggles prior to the health emergency, Esprit aims to optimize and streamline its business in order to emerge stronger and leaner after the pandemic. The company issued a profit warning last week and adjusted its guidance for the second half of 2020, indicating the severity of its challenges. In 2019, Esprit experienced a loss of €248 million, with revenue falling by €300 million to €1.55 billion.

Esprit’s decision to enter into administration for its subsidiaries comes as many other retailers face financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With stores closed and consumer demand declining, numerous fashion brands are struggling to stay afloat. Esprit’s proactive approach to ensure its survival during this challenging time involves restructuring financial obligations and negotiating more favorable terms with creditors through self-administration proceedings. This process will allow the company to assess its operational costs and make necessary adjustments to improve its financial position. It also provides a three-month window to develop a plan for recovery and reorganization, requiring close collaboration with employees, unions, and suppliers.

Esprit’s move reflects the unprecedented challenges faced by the fashion industry amidst the coronavirus pandemic. With closed stores and plummeting revenues, the industry must rapidly adapt to survive. By taking proactive measures, Esprit aims to protect its solvency and liquidity, enabling it to weather the storm and emerge stronger post-crisis. Looking ahead, the company remains optimistic and believes that opportunities may arise in the market once the pandemic subsides. By optimizing and streamlining its operations during the self-administration period, Esprit positions itself to seize potential market openings and regain strength in the fashion industry.

In summary, Esprit’s decision to put six European subsidiaries into administration is a proactive move to protect solvency and liquidity during the global coronavirus outbreak. Self-administration provides an opportunity for financial restructuring, securing funding, and negotiating flexible agreements. This measure allows Esprit to develop a recovery plan, emerge stronger, and capitalize on future opportunities. Despite challenges, the company remains optimistic and committed to optimizing business operations to adapt to the changing fashion market.

Useful links:
Esprit Official Website
Reuters Article on Esprit’s Outlook