On June 1st, insolvency proceedings commenced concerning the assets of Vidrea Deutschland GmbH, which runs the Miller & Monroe stores in Germany. Stuttgart-based lawyer and restructuring specialist Jochen Sedlitz, of law firm Menold Bezler, was appointed as the insolvency administrator.
Based on Sedlitz’ findings, continued operation of the Miller & Monroe stores is not financially viable. “Unfortunately, the losses and extensive problems with the landlords due to unpaid rent mean it is not possible to restructure this business division under its own direction”, said the insolvency administrator.
The solution comes in the form of an agreement currently being implemented by Sedlitz and successful retail chains KiK, TEDi and Woolworth. The insolvency administration is helping these three companies to conclude their own leases for the stores Miller & Monroe will be vacating. KiK, TEDi and Woolworth have agreed to offer former employees of the affected Miller & Monroe stores for which a lease is concluded a job in newly opened branches of their own chains.
It is already clear that there are around 80 stores that KiK, TEDi or Woolworth will not be able to take over. Attempts are underway to find a supplementary solution with the Netherlands-based Vidrea parent company to conclude a lease and take over the employees concerned. “At present, we believe that a large number of the approximately 1,500 store employees will find new jobs through the proposed solution”, said Sedlitz.
Attempts are also being made to agree that other follow-up tenants of the stores take on the employees. “We were able to reach an agreement with a sporting goods retailer to offer jobs to the employees of one store”, explained Sedlitz.
Despite the closure of the Miller & Monroe stores, the insolvency administrator’s goal of finding new jobs for as many employees as possible and arranging for swift follow-on leases for the property owners remains realistic. “While many aspects are still in flux, by the end of June we expect to have an overview of which stores will have successfully taken over employees”, said Sedlitz.
Given the situation at the beginning of March, Sedlitz considers the present solution a great success. “The fact that is has also been possible in the last three months to reach a stock sale agreement with the owners of the goods and the landlords of 160 stores is an outstanding achievement.”
According to Sedlitz, special thanks are due to the employees: “To the very end, the staff did their jobs and stood by the company. Without their dedication, it would not have been possible to continue operating for as long as we did. I am deeply sorry that I have not been able to provide the employees a better outcome for their services for Vögele and Miller & Monroe”.
Sectors and Solutions