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2,600 jobs lost as French clothing group Camaïeu in administration

A court ruling made the decision after the state refused a demand for a multi-million rescue package, saying it was too ‘high risk’

A photo of a Camaïeu store with the shutters closed, in Bordeaux, France

Clothing brand Camaïeu is shutting up shop after its shareholders’ rescue requests were denied Pic: sylv1rob1 / Shutterstock

Clothes brand Camaïeu has gone into administration, with 2,600 jobs across more than 500 stores cut as a result of the legal ruling by a business court in Lille (Nord, Hauts-de-France).

The group had been in receivership since August 1. 

On Monday this week (September 26), management asked the state for a repayable advance of 48 million, to continue its business recovery plans. 

But the Economy Ministry denied this request, saying it was “not realistic”. It also said that the state could not "in any case, substitute itself for the shareholders". The shareholders are, in this case, Hermione People & Brands (HPB).

HPB had said that it was ready to inject €5million of funds to help as long as it also received government support, and that the Hauts-de-France region (where the company is based) would also help.

But the government said that “the state cannot take on this risk”, citing that if HPB was only willing to put forward €5million of the €80million needed, then the “plan is too risky”. 

After the administration ruling, Ministry for Industry, Roland Lescure, said: “The takeover plan was very poorly prepared, with a business plan on just one page. I regret that it has come to this.” 

Camaïeu appears to have suffered from changing habits in the way that people buy clothes in France, and has been in significant debt for some time. 

It was also ordered to pay rent for the duration of the lockdown period, following a decision from the Cour de Cassation (the highest French judicial court). It had been placed in receivership in the summer of 2020, and was then taken over the Financière immobilière bordelaise (FIB) under Michel Ohayon, the parent company of HPB.

In theory, the group could still be saved by a new takeover bid, but this would be unlikely to save all stores. This means that many employees will still lose their positions. 

The state has promised financial support for those affected by the job losses.

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