PARIS -- Ines de la Fressange has closed her boutique at 81 Rue des Saints Peres on the Left Bank here, 21 months after it opened.
Thierry Dufresne, president of de la Fressange's fashion company, blamed the closing on a rent dispute.
"We've renegotiated the lease on our Avenue Montaigne boutique and on our store in Milan, but the owner of the Rue de Saint Peres space wouldn't budge," Dufresne said.
He emphasized that that de la Fressange's flagship boutique on Avenue Montaigne and her shop in Galeries Lafayette were performing above their targets, and that they would not be affected by the closing of the Left Bank store.
"We may later regret this decision," Dufresne said. "The store was doing fine. But I believe that the contract signed several years ago was exorbitant."
The development comes after a shift in ownership in the company. In January, Francois Vuitton -- who is a former Louis Vuitton executive and is a fifth-generation member of the founding family of Louis Vuitton -- acquired a 51 percent stake in the de la Fressange business from Orcofi, which is the Vuitton family's vehicle for investments.
De la Fressange herself, a former Chanel model, retains a 34 percent stake in the firm, Vuitton clan leader Henry Racamier has 10 percent and Dufresne, 5 percent.
The de la Fressange company posted a 1993 loss of nearly $3.5 million (20 million francs) at current exchange rates, on sales of $7 million (40 million francs), although Dufresne predicts the firm will break even this year.
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