BERLIN – In what is being termed a “restructuring,” Wolfgang Joop’s fashion company Wunderkind has let go most of its staff and cancelled its fashion show slated for Paris Fashion Week in March.
The Potsdam-based fashion house, founded by Joop and Edwin Lemberg in 2003, has yet to break even. In 2007, Hans-Joachim and Gisela Sander acquired 50 percent of the company, and in 2009, took over Lemberg’s 15 percent stake to now hold a 65 percent majority interest.
Last fall, Wunderkind executives said they expected Wunderkind to break even in 2012. They reported 2010 sales in the Wunderkind boutiques in Berlin, Sylt and London were up 30 percent from last year, and that total sales saw double-digit gains. Market sources estimate Wunderkind’s 2010 turnover at about 4 million euros or $5.2 million at current exchange.
Sander, an investor in various non-fashion companies worldwide and a well-known art collector, had plans to expand the brand’s retail network, professionalize the internal structure, broaden Wunderkind’s fashion appeal as well as simplify its complexly cut and detailed pieces that he said were being produced at a loss.
Neither Joop, Sander nor Wunderkind chief executive officer Markus Hennig were available for comment. However, sources close to the company said Sander had become impatient with the pace of change.
Wunderkind’s in-house atelier was the first to be disbanded, and while the company would not say exactly say how many employees have been fired, sources say most of the 50 head staff have been terminated.
In an official statement, Wunderkind said a new concept was currently being worked out between the two current shareholders, Joop and Sander. This could include further licensees, the relocation of Wunderkind headquarters from Potsdam to Berlin and the entry of new investors, the company said.
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