French denim and sportswear brand April77 has ceased operations, WWD has learned.
Founded in 2001 in Grenoble by designer Brice Partouche, the trendy label was sold in about 80 specialty stores in the U.S., including Barneys New York, Blackbird and Oak. However, in recent seasons the company faced serious financial and production issues, failing to deliver fall ’09 orders to major retailers like Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s.
The line was represented in the U.S. by New York-based Archetype Showroom, which sent out a letter to buyers in recent weeks informing them of April77’s closure and that no spring ’10 merchandise would be delivered.
“Unfortunately after much internal trouble, April77 is not in a financial position to be able to finish production and deliver your goods,” read the note from the showroom’s founder, Audrey Gingras. “I am truly sorry for the strain that this may cause you, as well as for the lack of forewarning. We are very distraught here at Archetype to have learned of this situation, especially as it is so late in the season to learn of such a problem.”
In late 2008, April77 tapped a new chief executive officer, Bernard Didier, and chief financial officer, Didier Affre.
The brand was known for directional denim, which sold for $140 to $350. Jeanswear made up about 65 percent of sales, with a contemporary sportswear line accounting for the remainder of business. Men’s wear comprised about 60 percent of sales and women’s wear 40 percent.
“Music, youth movements and underground culture have always been the main inspiration for my design,” Partouche told WWD last year.
“There was a lot of potential for this brand and it was a profitable, viable business for seven years. But in the past year, it sort of deteriorated,” said Gingras, who added April77 owed her six figures in unpaid sales commissions and expenses.
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