The French footwear brand Clergerie was placed in receivership on Wednesday 29 March by the Paris Commercial Court. Renowned for its know-how and refined models, the company has been going through a complicated period for three years. Why such a setback and what fate awaits the luxury manufacturer?
The French shoe industry has taken a blow after the announcement that Clergerie has been placed in receivership by the Paris Commercial Court. The manufacturer, based in Romans-sur-Isère in the Drôme region, failed to find “in bonis solutions” during the “open conciliation procedure” between its shareholders and creditors. A poor cash flow situation and a high level of losses also explain this sad outcome.
However, this is not the first time that the company founded in 1981 by Robert Clergerie has experienced a difficult phase. Through First Heritage Brands (FHB), the Chinese fund Fung Capital had taken over the Roman SME in 2011, before being sold in 2020 to the Mirabaud Patrimoine Vivant fund. The company was then in a “healthy financial situation”, according to the press release. French Legacy Group, a subsidiary of the fund chaired by Jérôme Espinos, had been entrusted with managing the label, with the ambition of making it “the benchmark of French luxury footwear”.
Plagued by financial difficulties since 2020, Clergerie’s export sales have been plagued by the Covid-19 crisis, particularly in China.
“Despite strong growth, we were caught in a scissor effect”, explained to the Dauphiné Libéré Jérôme Espinos, president of French Legacy Group and Dominique Bernard, representative of the Mirabaud Patrimoine Vivant fund. “We have made significant investments, including opening stores in China, but the international situation has changed the game. A few months after we opened our boutiques there, China launched its zero Covid policy and was very strict on containment.”
In addition, due to the war in Ukraine, the company lost important customers in Russia. The latter has also slowed the influx of tourists to its stores (thirteen, including six in France) and increased manufacturing costs in its historic factory in Romans-sur-Isère.
Featured photo : © Clergerie