French womenswear chain Pimkie is about to be sold to a consortium consisting of Lee Cooper France, Kindy and Ibisler Tekstil, which would result in the loss of about 500 jobs, union sources said on Thursday.
“The sale of Pimkie by the Mulliez Family Association (AFM) will be confirmed soon,” a source familiar with the matter told AFP, confirming a report by French business magazine Challenges. A mediation hearing is scheduled to take place at the Lille-Métropole Commercial Court on February 8 to decide the terms of the sale and the seller’s and buyer’s obligations, the source said.
1,500 employees fear for their jobs
The brand, which employs 1,500 people and includes 232 owned and 81 affiliated stores, announced in October that it was in exclusive negotiations for an acquisition with the consortium made up of groups Lee Cooper France, Kindy and Ibisler Tekstil , had occurred.
According to Marie-Annick Merceur, trade union representative of the CFDT (the largest trade union confederation in France with around 800,000 members), talks with the potential buyers will take place around February 16-17 and a social plan is to be announced in April, in which approx 100 shops are to be closed.
An expert from the works council estimates that 450 to 500 jobs will be cut as part of this PSE (plan to secure jobs). These figures were presented at a meeting of the Committee on Workers’ Affairs in December. According to trade unionist Merceur, the sale provides for AFM to create a financial structure with which the social plan, investments and the next bank loans can be financed.
Pimkie and Kindy managements declined to comment when asked by AFP.
Another union source also anticipates a redundancy plan that would affect about 500 workers, mainly employed in the 100 stores that are due to gradually close between 2023 and 2025. According to them, the unions have already received guarantees for this future PSE, particularly in relation to the bonuses above the law.
“AFM will provide 250 million euros in stages,” the source said. “Mulliez will pay off his debts and oversee the financial recovery, but once they’re gone, it’s not certain it’ll last long,” fears she. The buyers “haven’t come up with a project that would make Pimkie better off tomorrow. We keep losing money and the Mulliez family had a strong back (…) and they didn’t,” regrets Merceur (AFP).
This translated post previously appeared on FashionUnited.fr.