The bag manufacturer Bree is insolvent. The company has filed a petition for bankruptcy in self-administration at the district court of Hamburg, it said in a statement. The wages of the 150 employees are secured by the bankruptcy money for three months; they were informed about the situation.
Bree was founded in 1970 by Peter Bree and his wife Renate Bree in Hannover, they rely on natural leather and clear designs. In recent years, however, business was bad. Bree tried to reposition himself: The company headquarters was moved from Hannover to Hamburg. The collection has been rejuvenated and the number of employees has been significantly reduced, it said in the message.
Bree announced that stores in its own 30 branches have been running satisfactorily, but the share of sales at the new online shop is still at five percent. That was for the traditional brand "too little to survive". Other bag manufacturers would achieve 20 percent of their online sales.
Will Axel Bree return?
In order to catch up, Bree needs "a strong, internationally successful investor in the industry". The aim of a reorganization in self-administration is to find this and successfully complete the reorganization of the company. Meanwhile, the business should continue.
According to the "Handelsblatt", the Bree family no longer holds shares in the company. Bree belonged to a northern German family office, which wanted to remain anonymous. Family offices manage large private assets independently of banks.
However, Axel Bree, son of the founder, told the newspaper that he could imagine "getting me back for the brand that comes from my family." What that means, he left open. He said: "A company like Bree does not necessarily need expensive own shops, but smart shop-in-shop sales areas in high-frequency prime locations and a clear digital strategy."