The consequences of the coronavirus can be felt on a global level. Our suppliers of raw materials in Italy and Spain are particularly affected by the coronavirus. In addition, almost all stores worldwide are closed. As we have already delivered the current spring/summer collection and made precautions with an additional ten million pairs of shoes in our warehouses, we will now close our production sites for two months. We also decided to take this step as a protective measure for our incredibly motivated BIRKENSTOCK employees who always find good and quick solutions – also during these difficult times.
As from the beginning of April, BIRKENSTOCK will suspend its production at all German production sites for an initial period of two months. On account of the compulsory requirements for the protection of the health of all employees as well as considerable disruptions of the supply chain, the production processes can no longer be properly executed.
“With the suspension of production, our company contributes to containing the virus. During this suspension period, we will, however, make intensive preparations for quickly resuming our operation. As we have already almost completely delivered our spring/summer 2020 collection worldwide, we can provide the markets in all countries with our current stock of ten million pairs of shoes as soon as the general situation permits and the stores reopen,” explains Oliver Reichert, CEO of the BIRKENSTOCK Group.
“At the same time, this measure helps us respond to the current difficulties in our supply and logistics chain. On account of the current shutdown in all of Europe, the supply with our raw materials is currently coming to a virtual standstill. Most of our raw materials are delivered from Italy and Spain. Unfortunately, these are the European countries most affected by the pandemic which leads to substantial work loss also on our end. Moreover, the Polish and Czech commuters working in our sites in Görlitz and Bernstadt are restricted in their free movement as a result of the border situation between Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany,” explains Markus Bensberg, CEO BIRKENSTOCK Group.
The employees of the production sites in Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse are affected by the application for short-time work. As per the current state, it is planned that the short-time work will last two months. BIRKENSTOCK will increase the short-time allowance significantly pursuant to a works agreement concluded with the respective works councils, to compensate disadvantages of the employees. Depending on the remaining workload in view of the current situation, other divisions of the company may also be affected by the short-time work. The company will continue to keep a close eye on the developments of the corona pandemic and will purposefully adjust its next steps to all ongoing changes of the situation.
In order to protect its global workforce, BIRKENSTOCK has implemented further steps, for some weeks now, to contain the spread of the virus. Any and all business trips have been canceled as from the start of the corona pandemic to prevent infections. Additionally, internal events requiring attendance of employees were replaced by telephone and video conferences and employees were encouraged to work from home so that physical contacts could be reduced to an absolute minimum.
BIRKENSTOCK is a global lifestyle brand with a heritage in iconic footwear, rooted in the creation of the BIRKENSTOCK footbed that can be traced as far as 1774. The notion of quality and function guides the brand in all its actions and across categories. The concept of all-round wellbeing is developed into footwear, sleeping systems and Natural Cosmetics, increasingly translating the lifestyle vision of the brand heritage. With more than 4,300 employees worldwide, this traditional, sixth-generation family-run business is also one of the German footwear industry’s biggest employers. BIRKENSTOCK was already using the term “footbed” in the 1910s, giving it the meaning which is commonly understood by consumers all over the world to this day – as a synonym for outstanding comfort when walking and standing. By the early 1970s, BIRKENSTOCK had become a global player. Manufactured in Germany, the sandals are now sold in more than 100 countries on all continents. BIRKENSTOCK also has a growing range of closed shoes, children’s shoes, and occupational footwear, as well as specialist products for orthopedic retailers, socks, bags, and belts. In 2017, BIRKENSTOCK added sleep systems and natural cosmetics (BIRKENSTOCK NATURAL SKIN CARE) to its portfolio of products. The company is headquartered in Neustadt (Wied). BIRKENSTOCK has 13 sites in Germany, in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse, Bavaria, and Saxony. The long-standing family-owned enterprise also operates its own sales offices in the United States and Canada as well as in Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Denmark, Spain, the United Kingdom and Dubai.