French fashion label Marithé & François Girbaud is forced to close eight stores because of bankruptcy. The two Belgian stores, in Antwerp and Brussels, have to close as well. In total, some 80 people lose their job.
Three bankrupted companies
The label’s eight own stores - five in Paris, one in Lyon and two in Belgium – have been closed with a possible take-over in mind, but ten franchise stores are still open. After a Parisian commercial court had declared the three companies responsible for the production and distribution to be bankrupt, store shutdowns were unavoidable.
The denim brand was founded in the seventies and was a pioneer in ‘stone washing’, but had been struggling since 2008. Its American operations took a beating, leading to losses and the company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (triggering creditor protection). American business bank Rothschild was asked by the end of 2011 to look for possible buyers or new partners.
Eventually Indian Fibres & Fabrics International ‘saved’ the brand, but to no avail. CEO Denis Noharet believes the brand can re-ignite at the end of 2013 or the beginning of 2014, with the support of founders Marithé Bachellerie and François Girbaud and with the assistance of an international group. There has been no confirmation yet about who that specific partner is, even though talks are still ongoing according to Noharet.
(translated by Gary Peeters)