French fashion retailer Camaïeu, known as the leading women’s ready-to-wear retailer in France, has recently filed for receivership as it faces financial difficulties amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This move follows similar actions taken by other French fashion chains, including André, La Halle, Naf Naf, and Orchestra, who have also sought court protection.
One of the main reasons for Camaïeu’s decision to file for receivership was the rejection of a state-backed loan that the company had applied for to navigate the ongoing crisis. This loan would have helped Camaïeu address its liquidity crisis and continue the transformation process it had started back in October. Unfortunately, despite support from regional authorities, the government, and shareholders, the loan application was ultimately refused.
Camaïeu, founded in 1984 in northern France, currently operates around 900 stores in 21 countries, with 650 stores located in France alone. In March, the company announced its plans to downsize its international operations by closing 135 stores outside of its domestic market by the end of 2020.
The company’s transformation plan, which included a financing deal with shareholders and banks, was severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. With stores forced to close, Camaïeu experienced a significant loss of earnings, amounting to €162 million, and a staggering 95% decline in revenue.
By filing for receivership, Camaïeu now has the opportunity to find a new owner. However, the pool of potential buyers capable of acquiring a large chain like Camaïeu, which boasts annual sales of €718 million, may be limited. Another fashion retailer facing a similar situation, La Halle, has struggled to find interested buyers with sufficient financial resources.
In August 2019, Camaïeu underwent a leadership change with Joannes Soënen taking on the role of president. This leadership change came six months after Modacin, the holding company that owned Camaïeu, was taken over by its creditors.
Overall, Camaïeu’s decision to file for receivership highlights the challenging circumstances faced by fashion retailers not only in France but globally. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for the industry, pushing many companies to seek court protection in order to navigate the financial difficulties caused by store closures and plummeting sales. As more retailers find themselves in need of assistance, the future of the fashion industry remains uncertain.