Reviews costume manufacturer Deiters: the economic situation is “a disaster”
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Because theare canceled due to the corona pandemic, the costume manufacturer Deiters has suffered heavy losses. In the financial year that began in April, sales fell by around 90 percent by the end of January compared to the same period in the previous year, said company boss Herbert Geiss of the German press agency. He did not give an absolute number. The company, based in Frechen near Cologne, has 31 stores, mainly in North Rhine-Westphalia. Deiters claims to have 280 permanent employees, most of whom are on short-time work. Deiters normally employs around 400 seasonal workers, this year it's zero.
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The company boss is worried. "From an economic point of view, this is a disaster for us, all 31 locations are closed," said Geiss. He actually wanted to open between five and ten more stores last year, but he put the brakes on because of Corona.
The online business is also running on the back burner - there is a drop in sales of around 80 percent compared to the same period last year. Before Corona, the internet business only made up eight percent of Deiters sales. "There is no reason to dress up - so the online demand is also low." Like other companies, Deiters has received state aid, which, according to Geiss, was only "a drop in the ocean".
Carnival is extremely important for Deiters, 70 percent of his business is disguise for the foolish session on 11/11. until Ash Wednesday. Other dress-up occasions such as Halloween or theme parties are also important for the company, which also has shops far away from the carnival strongholds in the Rhineland - for example in Stuttgart, Berlin or Frankfurt. Nevertheless, this business does not even make up a third of Deiters' annual turnover.
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The Deiters stores closed in March and reopened in late summer. In September and October, sales were reportedly up to 50 percent of the same period last year, depending on the business. When the first restrictions came in November (“lockdown light”), demand was correspondingly weak. Since mid-December, the stores - like other retailers - have been closed due to the lockdown. Geiss is betting that people will be able to celebrate 11/11/2021 again and buy Deiters costumes - but that might not be the case until the final carnival weekend at the end of February 2022.At Deiters one hopes for corona vaccination
"We hope that the vaccines will also bring us entrepreneurs back into normal waters." Financially, the situation is tense for him too. "It's like a high-performance athlete: He can run longer than usual, but at some point he too runs out of breath," says the 38-year-old. "We're doing everything to get through the crisis."
Has the Corona period including contact restrictions and distance to other people possibly given the carnival business model a crack in the long term? Geiss shakes his head. "People want to celebrate together, they want to be happy together - accordingly, the demand will be there again when Corona is over."
The family company, which has been expanding for years, wanted to celebrate its 100th anniversary this year. "I don't feel like partying at the moment," says Geiss. Deiters is the largest German dealer in carnival costumes, and one of its competitors is Karnevalswierts, based in Heerlen in the Netherlands.
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