Sport Voswinkel, a chain of 74 stores throughout Germany that has been a member of Intersport Deutschland since 1989 and a subsidiary of the voluntary group since 2003, filed an application for insolvency protection proceedings under its own administration on April 24.

It's just one more headache for Intersport Deutschland, whose overall retail declined last year for the first time in a while, and which was recently forced to stop a collaboration with Karstadt Sports.

Sport Voswinkel is one of the largest sporting goods chains in Germany, employing around 1,200 people. During the financial year ended on last Sept. 30, it generated sales of approximately €139 million, a minus of about five percent as compared to the previous year. Stores at certain locations were unable to meet sales expectations. The reasons given for the company's difficulties are declining customer traffic and associated sales, increased competitive pressure from online retailers and discounters.

According to the management of Sport Voswinkel, operations will continue without restrictions. The insolvency procedure will secure the wages and salaries of the employees until the end of June, pending a reorganization of the chain's operations, in close coordination with the creditors.

In contrast to normal insolvency proceedings, the corporate responsibility will remain in the hands of the management, which will run the restructuring process itself. Insolvency law permits this in cases in which companies become active themselves at an early stage in the event of economic problems and where there is sufficient room for maneuver to find a solution. However, Christoph Schulte-Kaubrügger of the White & Case law firm has been appointed as provisional administrator. Lorenzo Matthaei from the law firm Finkenhof Rechtsanwälte in Frankfurt is advising Sport Voswinkel in the context of the insolvency protection proceedings.