BERLIN — A decision is nearing regarding both the sale of the insolvent Arcandor Group’s catalogue and mail-order division Primondo, and the fate of its challenged Quelle catalogue business, Arcandor said Thursday.
Klaus Hubert Görg, insolvency administrator for Quelle, said the fate of the bankrupt catalogue house would be decided by the end of the month. Quelle is regarded as the weak link in the Primondo deal, which also includes special catalogues such as Hess Natur and Baby Walz, and the TV shopping channel HSE 24. Speculation is growing the division may not be able to be sold as a whole, though this remains the official Arcandor strategy.
Declining to identify the bidders, Arcandor said four investors remain in the running, although press reports are that only three are now interested: Cerberus Capital Management LP, Golden Gate Capital, and Texas Pacific Group. The fourth, Sun Capital Partners Inc., which holds the majority stake in the former Arcandor catalogue Neckermann, has reportedly bowed out.
Regardless of who inks the deal, major cuts in the workforce will be made. Primondo has already said about 3,700 of 10,500 employees will be let go by Jan. 31 at the latest, and 2,500 employees received their notice last month. Arcandor said investors require improved factoring, logistic and IT contracts to be negotiated prior to any sale. This, a spokesman said, could “realistically” take place by the end of October or early November.
Meanwhile, little progress has been made in the sale of Arcandor’s Karstadt department store division. The Metro Group, which runs the competing Galeria Kaufhof Group and as early as summer 2008 expressed an interest in taking over up to 60 of the 90 Karstadt doors, indicated it is running out of patience. “Kaufhof can profitably grow without Karstadt,” Metro deputy board chairman Thomas Unger said in an interview this week. “We’re willing to wait, but not forever.”
Arcandor’s stock continues its steep decline. In three successive stages this month, private bank Sal. Oppenheim reduced its share from 24.9 percent to 9.69 percent, and is no longer Arcandor’s largest shareholder. Arcandor is trading at its 52-week low of 0.235 euros, or 35 cents at current exchange, down from 0.305 euros, or 46 cents, at Wednesday’s closing. One year ago, the share was trading at 3.85 euros, or $5.26.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast