Sonia Rykiel Resort 2020

PARIS — A Paris commercial court weighing bids for beleaguered fashion house Sonia Rykiel has once again extended its deadline for offers — until July 18, this time, and set a hearing date for July 25, WWD has learned.

The court earlier Monday held a closed-door hearing with various parties — including the company’s works council, administrators, bidders and executives of the label, according to sources with knowledge of the matter. The house, which is known for its striped knitwear, has been in receivership since April.

As reported, two proposals have emerged as likely front-runners, with finances and a strategy aimed at keeping the label in operation, retaining some of the company’s 130 employees, these people said.  One of the key points of discussions is the label’s sprawling, booklined flagship on Boulevard Saint Germain, according to sources.

A previous deadline for offers had been extended from the end of May to June 12, opening the way for an increased number of proposals, which came from France and abroad.

Sonia Rykiel has struggled to find its footing since its founder passed away in 2016.

Its owner, First Heritage Brands, mandated investment bank Compagnie Financière Edmond de Rothschild in January to seek an investor or outright buyer for the brand, which it acquired in 2012.

Rykiel’s revenues stood at 83.7 million euros in 2011, with a loss of 1.4 million euros, the year before the founding family sold an 80 percent stake to Fung Brands, an investment company backed by Hong Kong billionaires Victor and William Fung that is now known as First Heritage Brands.

The owners sought to revive the business by capitalizing on its identity, anchored by founder Sonia Rykiel, who was dubbed the “Queen of Knits” by WWD.

Sales totaled 35 million euros in 2018, with a loss of 20 million euros, excluding its investment of 10 million euros in events marking the house’s 50th anniversary.

The house let its creative director Julie de Libran go in March. De Libran, who had been recruited in 2014, had moved the collections upscale.

Rykiel counts 10 freestanding boutiques, most of them in France, including its flagship on Boulevard Saint-Germain, after closing locations in New York, London, Brussels and Luxembourg. It has around 200 points of sale worldwide, with partners including Lane Crawford and Net-a-porter.