Friday 24 December 2021
Cathay Wohlfhardt After Bankruptcy
Christmas spirit “translated into digital”
A year ago – shortly before Christmas Eve – traditional company Keith Wohlfahrt had to file for bankruptcy. Absent tourists and the lockdown brought the business of the Christmas merchant to a standstill. A year later, Takuma Wohlfahrt took stock of the third generation of entrepreneurs.
Käthe Wohlfahrt stands for German Christmas like no other company: the traditional company sells nutcrackers and Christmas decorations in markets and stores around the world. But a year ago the family business was on the verge of collapse: During the pandemic, Christmas markets were cancelled, Germany saw no more tourists, and sales fell by 80 percent in 2020. Shortly before Christmas Eve, Cathay Wohlfahrt joins the security guard proceedings.
A year later, it’s time to take stock: The company remains in family hands. Of the 280 employees, 20 were laid off, 8 out of 22 shops had to be closed, and the border was streamlined. “The situation and the mood were very depressing, but after much deliberation it was definitely the right move,” says Takuma Wohlfahrt. In the podcast “Zero Hour”,
The grandsons of the company’s founding couple Wilhelm and Keith Wohlfahrt are currently responsible for marketing. Along with his siblings Kenta and Aska, he should have taken over the management of the company in 2020, but due to the pandemic, he had to change his plans. “Of course, we envisioned it very differently,” says Wohlfahrt, but the crisis was also “a very instructive school.” In order to keep the business going despite bankruptcy proceedings, one learns “definitely not in normal life or in studies” to stay calm, Wohlfahrt said. He should take over the management from 2024.
The year 2021 was not an easy Christmas for dealers either, but international trade is almost back to pre-crisis levels. “There’s the urge for normalcy and Christmas and comfort, customers want to buy when they’re allowed,” says Wohlfahrt. Online business also generates sales and has potential for growth. “But it will be a huge task for us to translate this feeling, this highly emotional element, which you can wonderfully experience easily in stores, into digital,” he explains. And finally, Christmas “will also come for the next few years”.
- Are you Käthe Wohlfahrt. Nutcracker with mask can be bought from
- How Takuma Wohlfahrt Will Celebrate Christmas This Year
- How the distribution of roles works with your siblings within the company
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