Does the liquidation of Camaïeu herald other bankruptcies in prêt-à-porter?

Who’s turn is it ? On Saturday, the 511 Camaïeu stores definitively lowered the curtain. After the judicial liquidation, pronounced on Wednesday, by the Commercial Court of Lille, against the former leader of women’s clothing in France, is the clothing industry worried? For Yohann Petiot, director of the Alliance du Commerce, a union that manages, among other things, the clothing sector, the Camaïeu case was special.

“When you have such high debt, you are forced to spend your earnings to pay it off and you fall behind in your transformation,” he explains. When the cycle becomes even more rigid with the situation of the yellow vests and Covid-19, it is difficult to get out of it. »

Pimkie also in crisis

And Yohann Petiot to warn: “This example shows, however, that public authorities must loosen control of the loan guaranteed by the State.” A PGE that had not been granted to Camaïeu. “We need to extend the payback period if we want to avoid other bankruptcies of companies restarting, but too slowly relative to the payback periods. “, specifies the president of the Trade Alliance.

Because the observation is far from rosy. Between 2010 and 2020, the sector suffered a sharp drop in turnover. And other brands have been in crisis for several years. At the head of which is the northern company Pimkie. Management officially announced, in June, the sale of its chain of stores. And the 1,500 employees live in fear of an epilogue similar to that of Camaïeu. “The closure of the cartel inevitably creates a psychosis,” testifies Valérie Pringuez, a former company employee turned parliamentary assistant.

According to her, “the difficulties of prêt-à-porter are real”, but she believes that “the Covid-19 crisis is a pretext used by companies to fire workers”. “The problem is also poor management, she accuses. Outsourcing of logistics services often leads to poorer quality of service and employees are asked to earn money without being given the means. By not sending on site the items that customers claim, for example. »

Social networks at the heart of the strategy

Should we see the programmed end of the big brands, unable to adapt? “The case of Camaïeu should not hide the strength and capacity for innovation of the companies in the sector, puts Yohann Petiot in perspective. Most have passed the milestone of digital transformation, eco-design and store renovation, which have become the key to success. »

According to him, “digital already represents 20% of the market share”. “You have to be there, with very precise stock management tools and efficient logistics,” he stresses.

A turn that seems to take more easily independent brands that depend on the Federation of Women’s Prêt-à-Porter. His spokesman is optimistic. “Many of our brands put social networks at the center of their strategy, apply co-creation with consumers and develop the second-hand market, reports the federation. And these new practices work quite well! »

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