For several weeks, Pimkie employees have been waiting for announcements on the future of the brand (belonging to the FashionCube group), following the arrival of a specialist in corporate turnarounds, Philippe Favre, at the helm in January. The latter announced to staff representatives on May 19 that the Mulliez family, owner of the struggling brand, had opted to find a new owner for it.
«The solution currently preferred by the shareholders is to seek an external shareholder solution, for which several months are being given,» a spokesperson for Pimkie’s management told FashionNetwork.com.
The Mulliez family would favor this sale option because of the significant investment required to turn the company around that it would not want to take on, according to UNSA Pimkie. The syndicate claims that Pimkie’s owner intends to sell it to a player committed to perpetuating and relaunching the brand by the end of 2022.
The northern French chain, founded in 1971, once had more than 600 points of sale, and now has 313 stores, 81 of which are managed by subsidiaries. It employs 1,500 people and achieved a turnover of 194 million euros during the year 2020, marked by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2018, Pimkie had already undergone a restructuring episode, which involved the loss of more than 200 jobs (through a voluntary redundancy plan) and the closure of 37 stores in France. A mission that had already been entrusted at the time to the company Prosphères, to which Philippe Favre belongs.
In the last two years, Pimkie has also reduced its export activities, closing its Belgian, Austrian and Swiss subsidiaries, and changing its activities in Germany, Spain and Portugal to franchises.
Having decided last year to reconnect with its historical target, i.e. young women aged 18 to 25, the brand is facing changes in the behavior of female customers, accustomed to pure-players (such as Shein) and second-hand stores.
Within the FashionCube ecosystem (Jules, Grain de Malice, BZB, RougeGorge…), Pimkie has participated in shared projects with these brands, such as the megastore recently opened in Tours, or the denim factory launched this year in Hauts-de-France. If sold, how will the company position itself with respect to these unifying issues?