Just a little more than two months after the ailing shoe retailer Aktiv Schuh filed for bankruptcy, the district court of Berlin-Charlottenburg officially announced the start of insolvency proceedings under self-administration. According to a statement from the court, the proceedings were opened on Oct. 1 and Torsten Martini of the law firm Leonhardt-Rattunde was appointed as trustee. 

Previously, the provisional creditors’ committee had given a green light to the opening of the proceedings and had decided to continue business operations. “The unanimous decision of the preliminary creditors’ committee gives us confidence that we are on the right track and that we can count on their support at this challenging stage,” said managing partner Marc Leinweber

With the help of insolvency expert Gerrit Heublein, the management has started to develop an insolvency plan. Lease contracts were renegotiated and the delivery of the autumn/winter collection was secured. 

Aktiv Schuh applied on July 23 for self-administration to initiate judicial proceedings because of impending insolvency, after the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting lockdown last spring ravaged sales. After a promising start to 2020, sales dipped from March to July, and online sales failed to compensate for the slump, forcing the Berlin-based company to apply for self-administration in a bid to achieve a sustainable restructuring. 

While management has started to implement the first restructuring measures, the pandemic is still placing a heavy burden on everyday business. “Tourists still haven’t returned and buying behavior remains cautious, with a mask only essentials are purchased, while the fun and pleasure of shopping does not really arise,” said Leinweber. “Making things worse, the nationwide resurgence in Covid-19 cases further complicated an already difficult planning process,” he added. 

Aktiv-Schuh is a family business with a 120-year history, run by the family’s third and fourth generations. The group operates around 70 branches, mainly under the names Aktiv Schuh, Shoe City and Hammer Schuh and as mono-label stores of various shoe brands.