PARIS — Tex by Max Azria, the mass-market fashion line born out of the collaboration between French retailer Carrefour and the U.S.-based French designer, is being discontinued, WWD has learned.

This story first appeared in the September 4, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Carrefour, the world’s second-largest retailer after Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and a spokesman for Max Azria confirmed the collaboration is over, but declined to provide further details.

Azria collaborates with singer and actress Miley Cirus on a junior fashion line sold at Wal-Mart.

Launched in 2007 with a high-energy fashion show in Paris, Tex by Max Azria was expected to bring a fashion-oriented edge to the Tex label, which has existed for 27 years at Carrefour and is sold in the company’s out-of-town hypermarkets, where women make up 80 percent of footfall.

The collaboration with Azria, known for its edgy urban designs, was meant to increase “pleasure-related purchases” at these stores.

However, business at Carrefour’s French hypermarkets, which sell household goods as well as apparel, has been hit by the economic downturn, as consumers have reduced their discretionary expenses.

Chief executive officer Lars Olofsson, who joined the company in January, has launched a wide-ranging reshuffle to make Carrefour more competitive and expects to test new concepts for the hypermarket business next year. Speaking on the sidelines of a press conference last month, Olofsson acknowledged that Carrefour has also lost ground against fast-fashion retailers like Inditex SA and Hennes & Mauritz AB, but noted his turnaround plan will also envisage repositioning the retailer’s textile operations against these competitors.

He ruled out exiting the apparel business, preferring instead to “reinforce and improve our offer.”

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