Peek & Cloppenburg

A Peek Into the Future

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Several senior executives have headed for the door at Peek & Cloppenburg Düsseldorf.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Peek & Cloppenburg Düsseldorf will not grow unless it resolves its leadership problems and invests in its business.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The Peek & Cloppenburg business is run by two firms, P&C West in Düsseldorf and P&C North in Hamburg.
    • P&C West runs more than 100 stores in 15 European countries and has annual sales of €2 billion, or $2.2 billion.
    • The Düsseldorf firm is run by Harro Uwe Cloppenburg and his son Patrick.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Shortly before Christmas, the fashion retailer Peek & Cloppenburg Düsseldorf suddenly abandoned the filming of a TV commercial for its online retailer, Fashion ID. Employees who had hoped the €15 million, or $16.5 million ad campaign would increase sales were among those disappointed.

The cancellation was representative of the hesitation and indecision at Peek & Cloppenburg, Germany’s third-largest fashion chain. Following a split in 1911, it is run by two distinct entities: Peek & Cloppenburg Düsseldorf, known as P&C West, and Peek & Cloppenburg Hamburg, called P&C North.

Cautious investment, an aversion to risk and overly complex managerial structures are preventing resolute steps from being taken at the bigger of the two, the family-run P&C West, insiders say.

The company is under pressure on two fronts. First, the fashion trade is undergoing a sea change; online giants such as Amazon and Zalando as well as brand-name producers with their own stores are threatening P&C West’s business model.

Second, it must succeed in an undertaking that has brought failure to many family firms: A changing of the guard. The head of the Düsseldorf clan, Harro Uwe Cloppenburg, is 74 years old.

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