PARIS — As it continues on its broad restructuring plan, ailing fashion group Vivarte has offloaded Naf Naf to a trio of Chinese companies: La Chapelle, Star Platinum Capital and East Links.
Vivarte declined to share the value of the transaction which was led by La Chapelle – a market leader in the Chinese mass-market ladies’ casualwear sector – under the La Chapelle & Co. banner. The French retailer over recent months has shed a number of apparel and footwear brands from its portfolio, including the Kookaï, Merkal Calzados, Pataugas and André brands.
“The deal we signed with La Chapelle & Co. guarantees Naf Naf and the employees with the best conditions of acquisition now, and the best perspectives of growth tomorrow,” Patrick Puy, chief executive officer of Vivarte, said in a statement.
Founded in 1998 by Xing Jiaxing, La Chapelle in 2017 ranked fourth place in terms of market share of retail sales in the mass market sector in China, according to the statement. The company in the same year counted 9,448 points of sale, exclusively located in China, and employed 37,554 people.
Launched in March 2014 by industrial leaders, professional investors and public institutions, Star Platinum Capital is a private equity fund that mainly operates in China. Created in 2011, East Links International provides consultancy, financing, investment and search services to Chinese companies.
Naf Naf, which was founded in 1973 and had its heyday in the Nineties, sells 11 million items per year via a network of 474 points of sale and corners worldwide and employs about 1,200 people.
Over the past four years, the apparel chain has reorganized its offer and supply chain while testing new retail concepts. This includes the recent #RoomService pop-up store on the Champs-Elysées, hooked on a cash register-free, omnichannel concept inspired by luxury hotel brands.
Vivarte in January said its 2017 results were encouraging, despite an annual net loss of 305 million euros, as the French retailer forges ahead with a broad overhaul. Its three-pillar strategy is geared around developing its La Halle footwear brand in suburban areas and its Caroll chain and Minelli, San Marina and Cosmoparis footwear brands in city centers.
The debt-distressed retailer, which is one of France’s largest clothing groups by sales, had posted a net loss of 672 million euros in 2016.
Vivarte in 2017 shuttered 135 stores under its La Halle brand, which incurred layoffs of 451 people, as the group struggled to pay back about 1.5 billion euros to four investment funds that serve as shareholders and lenders to the company.
Vivarte counts 12,000 employees, and over 3,000 points of sale worldwide, of which 1,900 are based in France.