By  on April 14, 2010

PARIS — Groupe DBA, the European manufacturer of ladies’ and men’s intimate apparel under brands including Dim, Playtex and Wonderbra, said Tuesday it would lay off 142 Playtex staffers in France as part of a restructuring.

The group, owned by U.S. fund Sun Capital Partners Inc., will close its Playtex France administrative site and regroup the marketing and sales staff of its remaining brands into a single team based at its headquarters in Levallois-Perret, on the outskirts of Paris, it said in a statement.

In a bid to grow its market share and stem sliding sales, the group plans to focus on a three-pronged strategy: innovating, optimizing the visibility of its points of sale and increasing its media spend. It plans to raise advertising spending to 5 percent of total sales within the next two to three years, from 2 percent at present, a spokeswoman said.

In addition, Groupe DBA will reinforce its industrial site in Autun, which will become its European hub for the production of footwear, lingerie and men’s underwear, as well as the main distribution center for France.

Turnover at the group has dropped 25 percent over the last five years, with a 15 percent fall in the last two years alone. Playtex France lost 7 million euros, or $9.7 million, in 2009 and Dim saw a “significant erosion” of sales during the same period, the group reported.

“With this reorganization, Groupe DBA wants to return to growth by making France an essential player in its future development in Europe,” said chairman Christian Duval, who was named last year along with a new chief executive officer, François Riston.

The company, which employs more than 8,500 people worldwide, is present in key markets including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the U.K. and Eastern Europe.

The news comes two weeks after denim brand Lee Cooper, also owned by Sun Capital, filed for bankruptcy protection in France. Meanwhile, Lejaby said earlier this month it was closing three of its five factories in France and laying off 30 percent of its workforce due to increased competition in the lingerie segment.

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