Merkal shoes

PARISVivarte is selling Spanish shoe brand Merkal Calzados to private equity company OpCapita, in the latest step of the French company’s restructuring plan.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Vivarte, which also owns fashion apparel label Naf Naf, is undergoing a broad overhaul, concentrating on brands like Minelli and San Marina shoes while shedding others. It announced plans to sell André shoes in January, shoe brand Pataugas in May, and the apparel brand Kookaï in July, and restructured its debt in June.

Last year, during the French presidential elections, the company was thrust into the political spotlight as its financial troubles raised the possibility of job losses and prompted some politicians to call for protectionist measures. Vivarte employs 13,000 people in France, where unemployment rates have remained stubbornly high.

Vivarte had bought Merkal in 2000, investing 4 million euros in developing the brand’s development in Spain, including opening a large flagship store in the Ramblas Catalunya shopping center in Barcelona.

Merkal, created in 1987 in Barcelona, counts 1,100 employees and generated around 131 million euros in sales for the most recent financial year. The brand expanded quickly to other Spanish regions, selling its inexpensive shoes from self-service shelves.

Based in London, OpCapita specializes in retail, consumer and leisure industries and has invested more than 500 million euros in businesses across the U.K., France, Germany and Spain over the past 11 years.

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