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By
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Translated by
Nicola Mira
Published
Mar 17, 2020
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Hermès closes all production sites in France until end March

By
AFP
Translated by
Nicola Mira
Published
Mar 17, 2020

Hermès will close all its production sites in France until the end of March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. News of the closure, affecting some 40 factories and tanneries, was given with a letter to the luxury group's employees, which the AFP agency was able to obtain.


The Hermès leather goods factory in Fitilieu, France - Benoît Teillet


"In compliance with various governmental instructions, we have closed all our stores in France and in some other European countries," wrote Hermès's CEO Axel Dumas in a letter to the group's employees dated March 16.

Contacted by AFP on Tuesday, the group's senior management did not wish to comment further.

Hermès has 9,500 employees in France, and added in the letter that "in order to safeguard all our employees, we have also decided to close all our production sites in France, as well as the Hermès Horloger factory in Switzerland, until Monday March 30 2020."

In total, Hermés operates 52 production sites. Of these, 42 are located in France. They include tanneries, garment workshops, and leather goods and porcelain factories.

"This decision doesn't apply to the Hermès Parfums factory in Vaudreuil, whose operations cannot be halted and where hygienic measures, already very stringent, have been further boosted. We are assessing the possibility of utilising the [Vaudreuil site] to produce hydro-alcoholic gel, of which France has a great need," added Hermès.

The group said that the production site closures "will take place partially and gradually" depending on the nature of the various operations.

With regards to office staff, Hermès "recommends those who are able to do so to work from home,” adding that "during this entire period and in addition to statutory provisions, we will continue to pay our employees' wages."

"Our products are 80% made in France," said Dumas in February, at the presentation of the group's annual results.

Leather and saddlery goods are the core business of Hermès - world renowned for the Birkin and Kelly handbags - and account for nearly half of its revenue, which in 2019 was just shy of €7 billion.
 

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