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Marionnaud Workers Protest Layoffs

As layoffs loom ever larger at Marionnaud Group, some of its employees staged demonstrations around France Wednesday.

PARIS — As layoffs loom ever larger at Marionnaud Group, some of its employees staged demonstrations around France Wednesday.

This story first appeared in the October 1, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

In Paris, for instance, approximately 100 workers protested outside of the company’s headquarters on Rue Monceau and then in front of the Marionnaud perfumery on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées.

Other demonstrations took place in Rennes, Bordeaux, Strasbourg and Grenoble.

As reported, in mid-June Marionnaud Group said it plans to lay off approximately 700 employees in France, or some 17 percent of its workforce there.

The move, which involves 659 positions in 370 of its 562 stores and 45 jobs in its head office — but does not involve any perfumery closures, is meant to ensure the A.F. Watson Group-owned perfumery chain returns to a consistent level of profitability.

Over the past three years, Marionnaud has lost about 25 million euros, or $36.5 million at current exchange, annually, according to the firm, which added in 2008 there was a slight improvement.

Key parts of the redeployment plan include a strategy to reduce operational costs by 20 percent along with the redundancy plan. Marionnaud also budgeted 12 million euros, or $17.5 million, so that 80 percent of its French network can be renovated by the end of this year.

What is expected to be the last round of negotiations between Marionnaud’s workers’ unions and company management will take place on Oct. 6.

Watson has invested 60 million euros, or $87.6 million, in Marionnaud since the perfumery chain was acquired in 2005.