“We take note of the decision of the court which pronounces the opening of a receivership procedure at the request of Camaieu”, who declared himself last Monday in cessation of payment, indicated the management to AFP, specifying work “from now on on the continuation plan”.

The objective of the sign, which employs 2,571 employees in 538 stores in France, “is to preserve the activity of the company and the Camaieu brand”, she added.

“This decision should allow Camaieu, a historic French textile brand, to have a period of observation and then to present a continuation plan in order to continue the transformation initiated by the group and thus ensure the sustainability of the company”, said developed in a press release Hermione People and Brands (HPB), the distribution division of the FIB of the Bordeaux businessman Michel Ohayon.

The group, which notably owns Go Sport, La Grande Récré and 23 Galeries Lafayette affiliated stores, intends to play on “synergies” within it, a source close to management indicated during the hearing on Wednesday.

– “Wave of crises” –

To justify its request for placement in recovery, Camaieu had in particular invoked last week “the consequences” of a judgment of the Court of Cassation, dated June 30, “refusing traders to lower rents during the Covid period”.

Even before this stop, the sign had been “largely weakened” by a “period of several months marked by a series of exogenous difficulties”, noted HPB on Monday.

The group invokes “a wave of successive major and unprecedented crises due to the Covid crisis, repeated confinements (…) and the disorganization of global transport”.

HPB also cites a “cyber-attack of exceptional magnitude” – at a cost estimated by management at 40 million euros – “as well as the consequences of the war in Ukraine and the increase in the price of raw materials” .

– Unpaid “from 50 to 60M” –

The president of HPB, Wilhelm Hubner, clarified on Wednesday “that part of the rents” had been suspended in June 2021, to initiate negotiations with the lessors, some of whom “went to litigation”.

“Even if the court validates a continuity plan, there will be a reorganization of the workforce, therefore a social plan, therefore social damage”, reacted for AFP Thierry Siwik, CGT delegate of Camaïeu.

“To minimize this social damage, we are going to build an action with the CGT HPB”, he added.

According to Mr. Siwik, the unpaid rents concern “between 250 and 300” stores, for an amount of “50 to 60 million euros”, a “considerable” debt.

Nordine Misraoui, CFDT secretary of the CSE, said he was “confident” on the sidelines of the hearing on Wednesday, while indicating that he feared that “a few stores” would close.

“Our shareholder will have to put money back on the table (…) It is about his credibility in relation to all the brands he wears,” he noted.

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 led by the commercial court. She had launched a major transformation plan.

The new management had given itself two years to bring the company back into balance, with the objective of returning to a turnover of 552 million in 2022, at the level of 2019.

But according to management, turnover only reached 333 million over the 16 months after the takeover.

“The recovery took place in an appalling context,” Mr. Hubner told AFP a year ago.