PARIS — Asim Abdullah, owner of Emanuel Ungaro, has denied reports he is trying to off-load the troubled French fashion house.
“It’s absolutely not true. The company is not for sale,” said the San Francisco-based entrepreneur, who bought Ungaro in 2005 from Gruppo Ferragamo.
Abdullah told WWD on Thursday, “We are not entertaining any conversations with anyone about the sale of the company.”
Ungaro has been rocked in recent years by a revolving door of designers, with a risky attempt to jump-start the brand by hiring Lindsay Lohan as artistic adviser fizzling in dramatic fashion.
Lohan was pilloried for her debut collection in October in collaboration with chief designer Estrella Archs and, after not turning up for Ungaro’s fall show earlier this month, said she no longer works for the company. In December, the man who recruited Lohan, company president Mounir Moufarrige, resigned.
On Thursday, Abdullah acknowledged Ungaro has initiated a plan to “rationalize costs” amid the economic slowdown and a drop in its wholesale and retail businesses.
To that end, the firm recently terminated its lease on its Madison Avenue store and will open a smaller New York City boutique next month in the Plaza Retail Collection.
Abdullah declined to elaborate on the company’s rationalization plan, but said his goal is to make the loss-making firm “sustainable” by 2011.