Beyond Barefoot

Sock Maker Back on its Feet

kunert-kunert fashion gmbh
If only slipping into profitability were so easy.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Kunert risks going out of business if it cannot find a viable strategy to tempt customers away from low-cost hosiery brands.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • At its height in the 1990s, Kunert employed thousands. Today it has fewer than 200 workers.
    • Among other products, the company makes socks for the hiking shoe manufacturer Meindl.
    • Last year revenues were largely unchanged at €45 million, or about $48 million.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Sunlight shines through dull panes of glass and stale air hangs in the long corridors. Most buildings of the Kunert hosiery factory have been empty for years, a stony witness to better times.

At its zenith in 1992, the Bavarian company generated revenues approaching €350 million ($378 million) and its post-war buildings were full. Several thousand people toiled at the plant, on the edge of the small Bavarian town of Immenstadt.

Two years ago, the textile factory finally went broke after years of decline.

Today, Kunert has fewer than 200 workers, but there is something approaching optimism in the rundown factory. Everyone needs to be committed, said Fritz Hinterberger, Kunert’s new managing director. The Austrian has been in charge since Erhard Grossnigg took over a majority of the company from the bankrupt estate.

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