Germany's bust drugstore chain Schlecker has begun its nationwide clearance sale that is expected to last until the end of June. Huge discounts lured crowds into the retailer's 2,800 shops.
Insolvent German drugstore chain Schlecker kicked off a clearance sale on Friday after creditors last week were unable to agree on a solution to keep the company up and running.
The 2,800 shops offered 30 percent to 50 percent discounts on a variety of items ranging from baby food and shampoo to washing-up liquid and diapers. Huge crowds of consumers had lined up in front of many shops long before they opened in the morning.
Schlecker officials spoke of a furious start to the clearance sale, adding that even greater discounts would be granted in the weeks ahead. They said it was still unclear how long the sale would last, but added that they expected it to be over by the end of the month.
The clearance sale plus the sale of real estate assets will hopefully raise between 500 million euros and 700 million euros ($623 million to $872 million), insolvency administrator Arndt Geiwitz said. That compared to 665 million euros in claims by creditors.
The 13,000 remaining employees of the retail chain will receive their pink slips towards the end of this month. German Labor Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Federal Employment Agency Chief Frank-Jürgen Weise had expressed the hope that many of those out of work could be retrained quickly to find new employment in the health care system or education where there are massive labor shortages.
The head of Germany's public-sector union Verdi, Frank Bsirske, reiterated his call for regional governments to create special employment societies to help those to be fired find new jobs.