Does the liquidation of Camaïeu announce other failures in ready-to-wear?

Who’s next ? On Saturday, the 511 stores in Camaïeu definitely lowered their curtains. After the judicial liquidation, pronounced Wednesday, by the Commercial Court of Lille, against the former leader of women’s ready-to-wear in France, is the clothing industry worried? For Yohann Petiot, director of the Alliance du Commerce, the union that manages, among other things, the clothing sector, the case of Camaïeu was special.

“When you have such a large debt, you are forced to spend your profits to pay it back and you are left 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 turmoil

And Yohann Petiot to warn: “This example shows, however, that the public authorities must loosen the grip of the loan guaranteed to the state”. A PGE that was not granted to Camaïeu. “We need to extend the repayment period if we want to avoid further bankruptcies of companies that restart, but too slowly compared to the repayment deadlines. “, Specifies the president of the Trade Alliance.

Because the observation is anything but rosy. Between 2010 and 2020 the sector suffered a sharp decline in turnover. And other brands have been buzzing for several years. At the forefront is the northern company Pimkie. The management officially announced the sale of its chain of stores in June. And the 1,500 employees live in fear of an epilogue similar to that of Camaïeu. “The closure of the shop inevitably creates a psychosis”, testifies Valérie Pringuez, a former employee of the company who has become a 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 lay off workers”. “The problem is also mismanagement, she accuses. Outsourcing of logistics services often leads to worse quality of service and employees are asked to make money without giving them the means. By not posting items that customers claim on the site, for example. “

Social networks at the heart of the strategy

Should we see the planned end of the big brands, unable to adapt? “The case of Camaïeu must 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 remodeling, which have become the key to success. “

According to him, “digital now accounts for 20% of the market share”. “You have to be there, with very precise inventory management tools and efficient logistics,” he points out.

A turn that seems to take more easily for independent brands that depend on the Federation of women’s ready-to-wear. His spokesperson 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 pretty well! “

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