Peek & Cloppenburg

A Peek Into the Future

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


    • 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


  • 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.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.