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The Swiss branch of fashion brand Esprit, Esprit Switzerland Retail AG, has filed for bankruptcy with a court in Switzerland, Esprit Holdings Limited announced in a press release

Not entirely unexpectedly, Esprit Holdings Limited, a renowned name in the fashion world, has suffered a significant setback. The company had in a press release announced that its Swiss subsidiary, Esprit Switzerland Retail AG (ESRA), has filed for declaration of insolvency before the competent Swiss court. This move marks a critical turning point in the company's strategy and raises questions about the future direction of the group in the turbulent retail market.

ESRA, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Esprit and mainly active in the retail distribution of clothing and accessories in Switzerland, has taken this measure after careful consideration by its management. This decision reflects the challenging circumstances the company faces, including a general economic slowdown, rising energy and logistics costs, negative consumer sentiment in Europe, and prolonged high rental costs for its unsuitably sized retail properties.

The announcement comes at a time when Esprit is undergoing an extensive reorganization aimed at strengthening cooperation with wholesale and franchise partners and generating new impetus in e-commerce. The inevitable insolvency of ESRA and the closure of its stores are a direct consequence of this strategic reorientation.

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Esprit is also active in the Netherlands, as well as in other countries in the world. These parts are not affected by the Swiss bankruptcy.

The financial consequences of this development for the larger Esprit group appear limited. According to ESRA's unaudited management accounts as of December 31, 2023, consolidated total assets and liabilities were HK$494,4 million (approximately CHF58,6 million) and HK$593,4 million (approximately CHF70,3 million), respectively. The company emphasizes that the insolvency filing will not have an immediate material negative impact on the group's business and operations, which will continue as normal.

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Esprit continues to evaluate all restructuring options and contingency plans to preserve the value of the group's business activities. Shareholders and potential investors are advised to exercise caution when dealing with the company's securities, and further announcements are promised if there are material developments regarding the insolvency filing. It is not clarified exactly how many affected stores and employees are involved. 

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