ECONOMY

Apparel retailer Sprider Stores shuts down operations after 32 years

Greek casual-wear retailer Sprider Stores suspended all operations on Tuesday, closing its network of outlets and dismissing some 800 members of staff.

The company, which is listed on the Athens Exchange, filed for protection from its creditors under Article 99 of the Bankruptcy Code in January.

With debts amounting to some 90 million euros to creditors and suppliers, the company’s management said on Monday that it is planning to sell off its sizable assets in order to ensure that laid-off staff receive full compensation and debts are settled.

“This development is due to the recalcitrant stance and refusal of the banks to continue funding,” the company said.

Up until the crisis began taking its toll on the company, Sprider had 110 outlets in Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Serbia and Poland, with sales of around 160 million euros, profits in the region of 15 million euros and some 2,000 employees.

The company began reducing its sales network in 2009, slashing the number of stores to 50 and shutting down operations in Romania, Cyprus, Poland and Serbia.

The final blow, according to local media, came in February 2012, when a large fire completely destroyed its stock at the company’s headquarters and central storage facilities in Anthousa, north of Athens. An Athens prosecutor had filed charges against the apparel company’s governing board at the time, as there were allegations that the fire had been started on purpose in a bid to cash in on the insurance.

In the first half of 2013, the company posted losses of 25.22 million euros.

Sprider Stores was founded in Athens in 1971 and was listed on the Athens bourse in 2004.