PARIS — Facing what it calls “a deteriorated economic situation,” Lanvin plans to lay off up to 65 people and exit the perfume and watch businesses in an effort to stem heavy losses.
The 115-year-old French fashion and fragrance firm, majority owned since July 2001 by Taiwanese publishing magnate Shaw-Lan Wang, said Wednesday it planned to “recenter” the brand on luxury ready-to-wear for men and women, its core businesses, while seeking a license for its perfumes.
Losses last year swelled to $26.8 million, or 22 million euros, on sales of $97.6 million, or 79.3 million euros. (Dollar figures are converted from euros at current exchange.) Lanvin said the restructuring plan, which requires worker approval in France, would reduce fixed costs by about 25 percent.
Lanvin employs 300 people worldwide, of which 207 are in France. Forty-six of the affected jobs are in France, mostly in the fragrance department. WWD reported March 12 that Lanvin was trimming headcount in its beauty division. Lanvin chief executive Sing-Ming Chu also said cuts would affect its men’s wear area, where manufacturing costs are deemed too high. Men’s wear represented about 40 percent of 2003 turnover, he noted.
Women’s rtw will remain intact. Women’s rtw sales, while representing only 16 percent of the brand’s total, have increased tenfold since the arrival two years ago of designer Alber Elbaz, Chu said.
Elbaz, who joined Lanvin after stints at Krizia Top, Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche and Guy Laroche, has won critical and commercial acclaim for his feminine and elegant designs.
Still, rumors have swirled about the firm’s future since Wang led a group of investors known as Harmonie SA to buy Lanvin from L’Oréal three years ago. Wang quietly shopped the company around last year, according to numerous sources, and there have been several leadership changes.
Chief executive Nicolas Druz exited last November and was replaced by Chu, who is Wang’s son. Chu said Wang was also seeking a minority partner, but is no longer on the hunt.
Chu declined to say who the new fragrance licensee might be and stressed that the restructuring package remains a proposal. He also stressed Lanvin would not assign a licensee unless it gets the terms it wants. However, it is believed a name like Lanvin could interest the prestige divisions of Procter & Gamble or Wella.Since the takeover, Lanvin has launched a few scents, including Eclat d’Arpege, in 2002, meant to lure thirtysomething women, and Lanvin Vetyver, in 2003, a men’s fragrance targeting 30- to 40-year-olds.
In the U.S., Lanvin women’s wear is carried by such retailers as Barneys New York, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. Worldwide, there are 27 Lanvin boutiques, corners and franchises, the lion’s share of them in Asia.
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