The Camaïeu ready-to-wear brand did not resist the terrible decade of the 2010s which saw the textile and clothing market plummet.
The northern brand was placed on Wednesday in compulsory liquidation by the Commercial Court of Lille, with, as a result, around 2,600 layoffs.
Six years ago, the debt was already one billion euros.
The Camaïeu ready-to-wear brand did not resist the terrible decade of the 2010s which saw the textile and clothing market plummet with an overall drop in turnover of 15%.
On Wednesday, the northern company was placed in compulsory liquidation by the Commercial Court of Lille.
With, as a result, the termination of the employment contract for more than 2,600 employees.
For the CGT union, which denounces the non-intervention of the State in this file, it is about an "organized bankruptcy" of the shareholders.
However, two years ago, the inter-union had approved the takeover project which maintained 2,600 of the 3,100 jobs.
Since then, the financial situation has never recovered.
Cyber attack and unpaid rent
In August, during the placement in receivership, the management of Camaïeu mentioned the problems of rising raw materials, but also unpaid rents.
The brand had asked, in vain, for a drop in store rents during the Covid-19 period.
Finally, last year, in June 2021, the website had to deal with a cyber attack causing its temporary closure.
But the list of difficulties begins in the 2010s. Created in 1984 with a small store in Lens, in Pas-de-Calais, the brand had conquered the hearts of women.
In 2017, according to a survey, 29% of them designated Camaïeu as their favorite brand, placing it ahead of H & M, Kiabi and Zara.
In 2019, just before the Covid-19 crisis, the brand, whose head office is based in Roubaix, in the North, is still considered a French clothing flagship, with 650 stores in 15 countries and a turnover of more than 600 million euros.
Offbeat advertising campaign
Nevertheless, the financial horizon was already gloomy.
In 2016, the clothing crisis forced the company to renegotiate its debt, which amounted to one billion euros.
Half was eventually converted into shares.
Two years later, in 2018, the financial holding company Modacin, then owner of the brand, had been put under safeguard, already because of the debt which amounted to more than 450 million euros.
The group's image took a hit in 2013 with the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, which killed more than 1,120 people.
In the middle of the rubble were found labels and Camaïeu pants, denounced the Ethics collective on the label.
Last year, an offbeat advertising campaign – the brand showed no clothing – on “values and commitment” tried to modify the Camaïeu look.
Obviously, that was not enough to restore the image of the company.
Social networks at the heart of the strategy
“Without judging Camaïeu's practices, which we don't know about, we see that today, the brands that are doing well are those that put social networks at the heart of their commercial strategy.
But also who work on co-creation with consumers and engage in second-hand goods”, testifies the Federation of women's ready-to-wear, which manages independent brands.
In any case, for the Commercial Court of Lille, the shaky financial situation of Camaïeu had lasted too long.
“When you are overwhelmed by the weight of debt, it is difficult to mobilize finances to innovate and transform”, underlines a source familiar with the matter.
The company had also been refused the loan guaranteed by the State.
A situation that puts about 2,600 people on the floor.
“We are going to ask for the reclassification of all the employees within the group which includes brands such as Go Sport, GAP and the 22 affiliated stores of Galeries Lafayette”, underlines the CGT, majority union, in a press release.
Placed in receivership, Camaïeu still has no buyer or investor
The Camaïeu clothing brand, in "cessation of payments", requests its placement in receivership
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