Salamander is leaving Hungary, with a final sale in stores now underway. They will soon close for good, the chain announced on its Facebook page –reported Magyar Nemzet.
“The owner of Salamander has decided not to continue retail operations in Hungary in the future. Therefore, we regret to inform you that our stores will soon close permanently,”
they wrote in the post.
This means that the final sale in the stores has started and the products can be bought at discount prices.
Based on the company database, the turnover of the German-based company, which employs 83 people in Hungary, has stagnated at HUF 3.3 billion in recent years, and – presumably due to the effects of the COVID epidemic – fell by a third in 2020-21 -according to HVG.
However, the company has been loss-making for at least five years running, with the deficit in the first year of the epidemic rising tenfold.
Last year, turnover returned to pre-2020 levels, but the loss did not: the company closed last year with a minus of €181 million, a four-fold deterioration compared to the last year before COVID.
The general economic downturn in the shoe trade and the negative economic impact of the war between Russia and Ukraine may equally be behind the exodus.
At least that was the explanation given by the German parent company when it became insolvent at the end of last year and filed for bankruptcy protection. Then, at the end of June, the Austrian Der Standard reported that the company had also pulled out of Austria after 54 years, closing its remaining 19 stores and laying off 200 employees there.
But the company’s problems go back much further than that: expansion in the former Soviet bloc countries failed to bear fruit, and in the 1990s, its subsidiaries there were making losses, despite which, it opened a shoe factory in Hungary, but that one ended up closing about 20 years ago as well.
One commenter reacted to Salamander Hungaria’s post as follows:
My dad says they are the best quality footwear!!! From the last century. My father was a shoemaker. In the 1940’s he was a shoemaker’s apprentice. For him Salamander was the shoe. They were still shoes after about 10 years of use. Sometimes after a little tidying up and of course care!!! I am very sorry:(
The Salamander company was already present on the Hungarian market in the late 1920s, but its shops were nationalized after the Second World War and its products were reintroduced in 1989. The former Tisza shoe factory in Martfű was bought by the German parent company in 1998 (Saltis Cipőipari és Kereskedelmi Kft.), while Sabona Cipőipari és Kereskedelmi Kft., which was established on the site of the Bonyhád shoe cooperative, was also taken over by the German company in the late 1990s.
The Tisza brand, however, was revived after 2000, and they now have the unprecedented business model of selling shoes only in their own specialist shops.
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