PARIS — Ailing French fashion group Vivarte continues to lighten its portfolio.
The retailer on Thursday said it has sold footwear chain Besson Chaussures to France’s Weinberg Capital Partners, in partnership with Groupe Philippe Ginestet, owner of the Gifi and Tati chains.
Founded in 1980, Besson has been under Vivarte’s ownership since 1998.
The growing brand in 2017 generated 264 million euros in sales having shifted almost 13 million units in its network of 133 stores around Paris. The new owners have agreed to keep the existing stores and the company’s 47 staff members.
Patrick Puy, president of Vivarte, said the sale supports the retailer’s strategy to focus efforts on its flagship inner-city La Halle chain. A strong mix of shoes and clothing has kick-started the brand’s momentum over the past three years and offers “strong opportunity for growth,” he said.
One of France’s largest clothing groups by sales, Vivarte has struggled to pay back about 1.5 billion euros to four investment funds that serve as shareholders and lenders to the company. The group continues to restructure and has sold off its Naf Naf, Kookaï, André and Pataugas brands in recent months, as reported.
The group employs 2,000 people internationally and counts more than 3,000 physical stores globally for its portfolio of five brands: La Halle, Minelli, San Marina, Cosmoparis and Caroll.
Vivarte as part of its turnaround strategy in late August announced two executive appointments. Benoît de Roux was named financial director of the debt-stressed company, while Noël Moussali was named real estate director of the group and a member of the executive committee.