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Esprit Down & Out: Closing 12 Stores in Switzerland

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 27 March 2024

Esprit’s Swiss operation faces bankruptcy, shifting focus from own stores to partnerships.

Esprit Down & Out: Closing 12 Stores in Switzerland
Keystone/ENNIO LEANZA

The Swiss branch of the Esprit fashion chain has gone bankrupt. A number of stores have already closed. The management now wants to rely more on retail or franchise partners. According to a company spokesperson, around 150 full and part-time employees are affected by the closure.

According to various sources, there are between 40 and 50 Esprit stores in Switzerland. On the Esprit website, which does not yet mention the bankruptcy, the now closed stores are no longer listed. Blick” was the first to report on the Esprit bankruptcy on Tuesday.

However, not all Esprit stores are affected by the closure, but only those operated by the now bankrupt Esprit Retail Switzerland AG. These are 23 stores that have been closed with immediate effect, as the fashion group’s spokesperson explained this evening in response to an inquiry from AWP.

Focus on Trading Partners

According to an official statement from Esprit on Tuesday, the bankruptcy of the Swiss subsidiary and the closure of the stores were “unavoidable”. T

he reasons given for this are the general economic downturn in combination with the sharp rise in energy and logistics costs, negative consumer sentiment in Europe and long-term, expensive rental contracts for stores that were too much to handle.

Instead of running its own stores, the company now wants to increasingly supply other fashion retailers with its products.

The press release points out that Esprit clothing will continue to be available in 19 stores operated by franchise partners and in 150 clothing stores with various brands.

There is also a focus on “new impetus in e-commerce”. The management therefore wants to maintain its presence in online retail in Switzerland.

Owner in Hong Kong

Esprit Retail Switzerland AG is wholly owned by Esprit Holdings Limited, a fashion group listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and legally domiciled in Bermuda.

According to the information sent to Esprit investors, the over-indebtedness of the Swiss Esprit subsidiary amounted to around CHF 12 million at the end of 2023.

©Keystone/SDA

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