Clothing chain Wibra is relaunching 36 of its 81 stores in Belgium, the company announced on Friday. The news follows after it became clear on Thursday that bankruptcy was inevitable. The chain also wants to keep 183 of its 439 employees.
Wibra has been struggling in Belgium for quite some time. A last attempt to avert the bankruptcy ended in court on Thursday. The chain is now making a restart with less than half of the stores, after approval has been obtained from the receivers. The branches are spread across Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels.
The chain is convinced that it can make the remaining stores profitable. In addition, the company wants to better adapt the range, presentation and communication to the wishes of the customer.
The 36 stores will remain closed for a while, so that employees have time to make a proper assessment of the employment contract that they will be presented with. Wibra reports that the 183 employees can remain employed under the same conditions as before the bankruptcy.
According to the management, the cause of the bankruptcy was the outbreak of COVID-19. It is true that the chain had been struggling for some time, but these losses could be absorbed by other parts of the group. This was no longer possible due to the corona crisis.
As soon as the stores reopen, Wibra will refurbish and stock them “to start with a new impetus”. The bankruptcy does not affect the shops in the Netherlands.