En cessation of payment two years after its takeover by the Financière immobilière bordelaise, the ready-to-wear giant Camaïeu was placed on Monday 1er August in receivership by the Commercial Court of Lille, announced its management to Agence France-Presse. “We take note of the decision of the court which pronounces the opening of a judicial reorganization procedure at the request of Camaïeu”, indicated the management, specifying to work “from now on the continuation plan”, the objective of the brand, which employs 2,571 people, “being to preserve the activity of the company and the Camaïeu brand”.
“This decision should allow Camaïeu, a historic French textile brand, to have an observation period and then present a continuation plan in order to continue the transformation initiated by the group and thus ensure the sustainability of the company”, Hermione People and Brands (HPB), the distribution division of the FIB of Bordeaux businessman Michel Ohayon, said in a statement. The brand, which has 538 stores in France, had requested the opening of this procedure last Monday, declaring itself in cessation of payment, weighed down in particular by unpaid rents.
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This request was made “after a period of several months marked by a series of exogenous difficulties”, developed HPB. “Already very fragile at the time of its recovery” in 2020, “Camaïeu was faced with a wave of major and unprecedented successive crises due to the Covid crisis, repeated confinements […] and the disruption of global transportation,” the statement said. HPB also cites a “cyberattack of exceptional magnitude as well as the consequences of the war in Ukraine and the increase in the price of raw materials”.
“Already largely weakened by this succession of unprecedented facts, Camaïeu has had to face, since June 30, the judgment of the Court of Cassation, refusing traders the right to request a reduction in their rents for the Covid period” , adds HPB. “Even if the court validates a continuity plan, we know very well that there will be a reorganization of the workforce, therefore a social plan, therefore social damage”, reacted 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 the union official, the unpaid rent concerns “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 signs 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. According to the management, the turnover only reached 333 million in the 16 months after the recovery. “The recovery took place in an appalling context”, had pointed to AFP, a year ago, Wilhelm Hubner, president of the sign.
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