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MILAN — Anyone looking forward to a Helmut Lang show in Paris next month is out of luck.
A spokesman at Prada Holding NV, which owns Helmut Lang, confirmed Monday the Italian company has halted production of the line “for the time being” and won’t roll out a spring 2006 collection.
The announcement is hardly a surprise. Earlier this year, Prada said it was mulling a sale of the Lang brand and talking with potential buyers. In May, Prada chief executive officer Patrizio Bertelli told WWD the group would continue to produce Helmut Lang until the end of the year, at which point he would decide whether to sell the business. During that interview, he admitted there were problems at Lang.
“If you see a brand that can’t find its customer base, that can’t generate the right level of turnover and it’s posting losses, you are going to have to proceed in a certain way,” said Bertelli.
A Prada spokesman declined to comment Monday on the state of negotiations with potential buyers. Many market observers have said that selling Lang will be tricky considering its financial losses and the departure of its namesake designer in January. In March, Prada shuttered Helmut Lang’s SoHo office in New York.
When Prada released its 2004 results in May, the company did not break down Helmut Lang’s sales, but it did say that 73 million euros, or $91.25 million, of losses and devaluations caused Prada Group to post a net loss of 62 million euros, or $77.5 million. (Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at average exchange rates for the period to which they refer.)
In 2003, Helmut Lang’s sales declined 33.1 percent to 27.85 million euros, or $31.47 million, from 41.62 million euros, or $39.33 million in 2002.