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Borletti Group Bids For Christian Lacroix

Italian department store owner Borletti makes 'serious' offer to Christian Lacroix.

PARIS — The administrator of Christian Lacroix SNC said Monday it has received a “serious” bid from Italy’s Borletti Group, the owner of department stores La Rinascente and Printemps, in association with the designer.


Monday was the deadline to lodge offers for the couture house, which has been in administration after filing for protection against creditors in May.

A commercial court is due to rule in September on the offers, including Borletti’s.

A bid from French turnaround firm Bernard Krief Consultants, which last week said it was planning to make an offer for the fashion house, has been deemed unsatisfactory, said a spokeswoman for administrator Regis Valliot.

Two unidentified bidders who offered 1 euro, or $1.42 at current exchange, for the company were dismissed as “inconsistent” by the administrator.

A spokeswoman for Christian Lacroix SNC declined comment.

Another turnaround proposal rests with Lacroix’s owner, Florida-based Falic Group. In case a buyer is not found, the firm plans to activate a restructuring plan that could see the workforce cut to 12 from 124, effectively reducing the 22-year-old fashion house to a licensing operation.

Bernard Krief Consultants, which acquired troubled textile firm DMC out of administration and was among the bidders for bankrupt fast-fashion chain Morgan, last week said it was the sole contender for the company and that it would table its offer Monday morning.

Louis Petiet, head of the firm, told WWD the company would consider improving its “symbolic offer” next month once it examines the turnaround plans envisaged by Falic Group. Petiet also didn’t rule out a tie-up with the Borletti Group.

Headed by Italian entrepreneur Maurizio Borletti, Borletti Group owns La Rinascente, Italy’s largest department store chain, and French department stores Printemps, acquired in 2006 in association with Deutsche Bank. Borletti wasn’t available for comment, nor was Christian Lacroix.

Christian Lacroix SNC filed for court protection from its creditors in May, having never turned a profit and amid a sharp downturn in luxury spending.

In 2008, losses at Lacroix swelled to about 10 million euros, or $14 million at current exchange, on revenues that shrank to an estimated 30 million euros, or $42 million. Sales for the fall 2009-’10 collection, presented in March, dropped 35 percent.

Last year, Falic Group began searching for potential investors to help accelerate the fashion company’s expansion and capitalize on the brand’s recent repositioning as a pure luxury play.