BERLIN — The German catalogue company Quelle is being liquidated. The 82-year-old firm is part of the insolvent Arcandor Group’s Primondo mail order division.
In late June, the German government granted Quelle a loan guarantee of 50 million euros, or about $70 million, to keep the cash-strapped operation afloat and help provide a basis for its restructuring. However, failure to reach a factoring agreement for the floundering mail order operation derailed negotiations with potential investors, the group’s insolvency administrator Klaus Hubert Görg said. It also negatively impacted sales, as the ongoing debate over factoring made the catalogue’s customers insecure, he noted.
After four months of searching for a buyer for Quelle or the entire Primondo catalogue unit, which includes profitable special mail order catalogues Baby Walz and Hess Natur as well as the TV shopping channel HSE24, Görg and the committee of creditors saw no alternative but liquidation.
Up to 5,000 of Quelle’s employees in Germany will lose their jobs as of Nov. 1, and unspecified others in supporting logistics firms, such as DHL, will also be affected.
Quelle’s overseas operations are healthy, according to the insolvency administrator, and will now “promptly be sold in an independent sales process.” Separate buyers are now also being sought for the remaining Primondo businesses.
Quelle’s competitor, the Otto Group, earlier indicated interest in taking over the Baby Walz, Hess Natur, and Elégance specialty catalogues and is still considered a serious contender to do so.
Despite Quelle’s demise, the German Mail Order Association confirmed its sales prognosis for 2009 on Tuesday. A growth rate of 1.7 percent to 29.1 billion euros, or $43.37 billion at current exchange rates, is expected. Online catalogue sales will see a 15 percent increase to 15.4 billion euros, or $22.95 billion, in 2009.
The search for an investor for Arcandor’s Karstadt department store group is ongoing. “Karstadt is in a much better situation,” Görg said Tuesday, though insiders expect no major moves to be made until after the holiday season.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast