Garant Schuh + Mode, the international Düsseldorf-based buying group, posted healthy numbers for affiliated retailers in the first year after its successfully terminated insolvency. As of Dec. 31, 2008, Garant counted 3,406 retailers, including 242 new members. On a net basis, Garant had some 40 retailers more than at the end of the previous year.

While the number of retailers in the German home market decreased, the evolution was extremely positive in France. According to Frank Schuffelen, the group’s chief financial officer, Garant now has some 470 retailers in France, where before the bankruptcy it had around 400 retailers and fewer than 350 during the receivership. A special success story is the development in Belgium where the number of affiliated retailers has doubled since 1997 and the turnover grew by 500 percent in the same period.

As reported previously, Garant’s centralized invoicing increased by 1.6 percent in 2008. The total volume was €766.3 million, of which 31 percent came from Germany. Its second-most-important market was the Netherlands (29 percent) followed by Belgium (18 percent). The Austrian market (4 percent) was down by 0.9 percent to €32.9 million while France (5 percent) soared by 20.5 percent to €41.7 million.

In total, Garant now has 2,580 affiliated shoe retailers that operate 3,916 stores, representing 75.7 percent of all affiliated retailers. The other members are leathergoods retailers, 12.7 percent, and sporting goods retailers, 11.5 percent. There are 433 leathergoods retailers that run 751 outlets, and 393 sporting goods retailers, mainly under the helm of Fair Play, with 433 doors.