Closed but not bankrupt? Bakers rage because of confusing Habeck statement


After the appearance of Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck in the program “Maischberger” there was criticism. When asked whether he expected a wave of bankruptcies in the winter, the minister said no.

Nevertheless, he conceded that it could well happen that certain industries “stop producing for the time being”. As an example, the Green called flower shops, organic shops and bakeries, i.e. “shops that depend on people spending money”.

Such companies would have real problems because of the reluctance to buy. “Then they are not automatically insolvent, but they may stop selling,” says Habeck. Companies would only have to file for bankruptcy if they “made an ever-increasing deficit with their work”.

Loss of sales of sometimes 50 percent

Many entrepreneurs are angry about the statements made by the climate minister. In an interview with FOCUS online, the “Central Association of the German Bakery Trade” reported on angry bakery owners.

“Here the tree is burning, we get tons of calls from angry bakers who demand that we run to Habeck and reprimand him,” it says.

Bianka Marquardt, who owns the traditional bakery and confectionery “Marquardt” with four branches in Bremen and Lower Saxony, says that the lack of customers is what causes the companies to struggle.

“We sometimes have 50 percent less sales due to the lack of customers and high energy prices,” she says. Nevertheless, the traditional bakery cannot pass these costs on to consumers, otherwise customers would stay away, says Marquardt.

Employees have to be laid off

“The situation is no longer acceptable for the bakeries. Sadly, we have already had to lay off 10 employees.” With a view to the winter, she says: “I always hope that customers will buy more in bakeries again instead of at discounters. Otherwise we think about quitting. That’s it then.”

Marquardt also says that her bakery will soon slide into bankruptcy if nothing changes. She has been running the business together with her sister for several years.

The two of them are now trying to balance the workforce of the dismissed employees somehow. “We work 18 to 20 hours a day to absorb everything that is still possible. Normally it’s not feasible – we can’t keep it up much longer,” says the owner.

Also read: Guest article by Eric Schweitzer – Out of sheer relief, Habeck is just missing a huge opportunity

Monthly costs of 80,000 euros: “I can’t close for two months”

Marquardt is stunned by Habeck’s statements. “I have monthly running costs of 80,000 euros, so I can’t just close for two months and my costs continue. And then everything’s fine, isn’t it?’ she says.

The “Central Association of the German Bakery Trade” is also upset about the statement by the Federal Minister of Economics. “Unfortunately, that was completely out of place. Minister Habeck has thus upset many medium-sized companies and in particular the bakery trade,” says Managing Director Daniel Schneider in an interview with FOCUS online.

A bakery cannot simply close for 3 months and then open again. “After all, bread cannot be made up for. The customer then simply goes to the discount store and buys industrial bread.”

“The bakery trade is up to its neck in water”

Schneider also speaks of a “cost tsunami that can hardly be managed without state aid”. According to the entrepreneur, around 70 percent of the companies need gas for baking. Conversion is not always technically possible.

Not only because of the immense costs. There is also a lack of craftsmen and other service providers, says Schneider. In addition to the rising electricity and gas prices, the baking raw materials have also become much more expensive, according to the entrepreneur. Price trend: rising.

“Habeck fails to recognize the seriousness of the situation. The bakery trade is up to its neck in water,” he says. The bakery trade is facing one of the greatest challenges in its history.

Without the help of politics, companies face the end of their existence

In order to survive the cost tsunami, the association is calling for a rescue package. “Without help from politicians, numerous companies will face the end of their existence, which will not only cost jobs and apprenticeships, but also jeopardize the security of supply with staple foods,” says Schneider.

Timely relief for companies with concrete measures is urgently needed. “Just an announcement of upcoming relief does not help the companies.”

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