PARIS — A French commercial court weighing bids for struggling fashion house Sonia Rykiel now has around 10 offers and will make a decision in mid-July, WWD has learned.
Following the extension of a deadline for offers from May 31 to June 12, the number of bids has doubled, and the court is considering offers from France, elsewhere in Europe and Asia, including industry players, with an eye toward securing the future of the label and preserving as many jobs as possible, according to sources with knowledge of the matter. The label counts around 130 employees.
The court has not set a hearing on the matter yet, but it is expected to take place around two weeks before it passes down a final decision.
Sonia Rykiel, known for striped knitwear, went into receivership in April. 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 came to 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 go its creative director Julie de Libran 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 historic 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.