The black series continues for ready-to-wear brands. On Tuesday, the commercial court of Bobigny (Seine-Saint-Denis) gave partial liquidation of Mim Group, a network of 233 clothing stores for women. Eight hundred employees are expected to lose their jobs from a total of 1 100. Placed in receivership since November 2016, now sees only 69 shops and 279 jobs taken up by the Swiss brand clothing Tally Weijl, associated french distributor of ready-to-wear Etam, who was a candidate on two stores.
The French textile crisis
The collapse of Mim is a new episode of the violent crisis in the French textile. Last month, Tati, the results are negative, was officially put on sale by its owner, while the Hall of clothing, owned by Vivarte, closed 250 stores and eliminated 1,600 jobs between 2015 and 2016.
Created in 1976 in the Sentier district (Paris II e) dedicated to making clothing, Mim has experienced rapid success in the niche of women’s fashion at low prices before the British group New Look Acquires its founders. In 2014, the brand still carries 180 million euros of turnover, but profitability is eroded and its British owner, willing to go public, then resells the Hand Asia, a Hong Kong-based group.
Mim then changes its multi-source procurement strategy by a contract with a single supplier, AGP, which then gives it 70% of its collection. “A higher prices than in the past,” said Mickaël Gharbi Unisa union representative. Chance or coincidence, sales start to decline while the losses increase. They have reached 9 million in 2015 to 150 million turnovers. In November 2016, Mim is placed in receivership. Liabilities reached, at that date, 60 million.
Three offerings times are then deposited. One comes from the Clémenty company created by experts in the takeover of firms in difficulty. She offers to take 90% of employees but does not provide a euro hard cash while the commercial court expects 3 million in cash. It is probably this lack of financial strength that led the judges to prefer the project consortium Swiss Tally Weijl associated with Etam. Meanwhile, liabilities increased again and now reached 97 million.
The shareholder HK unreachable
In this case, a gray area is beginning to attract more and more questions. The absence of the current shareholder Mim, the Hong Kong Main Asia Society. The representative in France of the holding Alexandre Chon Chiang is unreachable and judicial administrators who Mim file would have the greatest difficulty in locating it. “I’ve never been able to bring to meetings of representative bodies when he was the director of a title,” recalls Audrey Viau, the secretary of the works council. Liberation attempted to contact the CEO of Mim Bernhard Ruf who declined to make any comment on the business situation and the absence of its shareholder.
Without sufficient cash, the financing of the conversion of 800 employees Mim is tricky and allowances are likely to be supported by wage guarantee insurance (AGS). “We do not exclude initiate an action in the criminal justice for some clarification,” said Audrey Viau.