The northern brand – of which some 2,600 employees had been taken over in August 2020 by the FIB – “requested the opening of receivership proceedings with a continuation plan”, indicated the management of Camaïeu in a message to the AFP.

“Camaïeu’s request is motivated by an acceleration of the company’s difficulties and more particularly by the consequences” of a judgment of the Court of Cassation, dated June 30, “refusing traders to lower rents during the Covid period. “, explained the management.

“The main objective (…) is to preserve the sustainability of the company”, she assured.

The president of the Lille commercial court told AFP that on Monday he had received a declaration of “cessation of payment” from the managing company, Aciam, which belongs to HPB (Hermione, People

According to a source familiar with the matter, this request is made “in view of the difficulty of the times in terms of retail”, and the problems linked to the takeover of the sign, in particular “difficulties in paying to donors”.

– Unpaid rents –

According to Thierry Siwik, CGT delegate of Camaïeu, the management “sent a letter to dozens of lessors in June 2021, concerning, according to our estimates, between 250 and 300 leases”, to announce “a suspension of the payment of rents due to ‘a case of force majeure’.

“The management told the CSE that it was trying to renegotiate the rents” but “several procedures have been initiated by the lessors. Today, in view of several decisions of the Court of Cassation concerning other companies in the same situation, management is going to have to pay,” he continued.

In three judgments, the highest court has in fact obliged traders to pay their unpaid rent during the period when non-essential businesses were closed due to the Covid-19 epidemic, judging that the situation did not was not attributable to the lessors and had not permanently deprived the merchants of using their premises.

– “Social funds” –

Mr. Siwik estimated at “several million euros per month” the unpaid rents. “This money, they have not put it aside. The debt is considerable”, and if the receivership makes it possible to “freeze” it temporarily, in the long term “there will necessarily be social damage”, s’ is he worried.

In August 2020, the FIB had taken over 511 of the 634 stores in France and around 2,600 employees out of more than 3,100, as part of a restructuring under the aegis of the Lille commercial court. She had launched a major transformation plan and “substantial work on the brand and the offer”.

The new management had given itself two years to restore the company to equilibrium, with the objective of regaining in 2023 the turnover of 2019 – 570 million euros.

“The recovery took place in an appalling context”, had pointed to AFP a year ago the new CEO Wilhelm Hubner, regretting that between curfew, confinement and a cyber-attack in June 2021, the company has not had “a single normal month”.

Health crisis, general drop in store traffic, rising inflation: according to the Procos Specialized Trade Federation, the whole of textile distribution is struggling, with sales for the period January to mid-June lower by 13 % at 2019 level.