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Quelle last-ditch clearance sale founders as website crashes

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Quelle last-ditch clearance sale founders as website crashes
No-one left Photo:DPA
10:50 CET+01:00
The biggest clearance sale in German history started with a whimper rather than a bang on Sunday, when the website of bankrupt mail-order giant Quelle collapsed.

The best that could be wrung from the address on Sunday was a note saying "Error: network exceeded," as the expected rush of bargain-hunters overloaded the site's capacity.

Quelle wanted to clear its stocks with 30 percent price reductions, first over the internet, and then in its shops. Around half the remaining stocks are clothes, which are expected to be offered at even greater discount. Meanwhile furniture will sell at 20 percent off, and technical equipment at 10 percent off.

The aim is to generate enough capital to at least keep the remaining 1,600 staff on until Christmas. More than 2,000 staff worked their last day on Friday.

Also on Sunday, former head of Quelle's parent company Arcandor Thomas Middelhof said the collapse of Quelle had been avoidable.

“The end of Quelle is a highly regrettable event – most of all because it was not irreversible,” He told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

He accused his successors at mail-order firm of failing to continue merger talks with a strong partner.

“When no state aid came, and the planned insolvency procedure failed, the company stood there with no alternatives. And thus is slid into a disordered insolvency.”

Middelhof left Arcandor in February this year, saying he had rescued the group, and it could continue to trade. Three months later Arcandor filed for bankruptcy, which led to the October collapse of Quelle.

Insolvency administrator Klaus Hubert Görg said that he and colleagues “had looked carefully for substance in this company, but we found nothing to speak of.”

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