Increasingly uncertain future for Sixty
The bad news gets worse for Italian fashion group Sixty, which owns brands Miss Sixty, Energy, Refrigiwear, Killah and Murphy & Nye. Acquired by the Asian Group Crescent Hydepark last spring, the company is in a legal procedure to seek an arrangement with creditors since September and is now drastically reducing its activities in Europe.
The French subsidiary, which employs 32 people, was ordered into liquidation by the Commercial Court of Paris on December 4. According to the Portuguese newspaper "Diario Economico," the same fate awaits the Portuguese branch, which employs 37 people and has a turnover of 10 million euros. According to the newspaper, the company's activities in Portugal have been greatly cut back in the past month with the closure of five stores. The branch facilities are scheduled to be closed on December 23.
Many UK retailers have also canceled several orders for the Miss Sixty summer 2013 collection, according to the British website Drapersonline.com. "The company prefers to focus on retail sales," they reported in an article. "We had 13 large orders that were canceled in London. The new owners are having great difficulty meeting orders for spring-summer 2013 and it looks like they will not be able to release samples for the next autumn-winter collection 2013/2014," said Marino D'Andrea, Sixty employee union representative in Italy.
Not more than 40 of a total 400 employees still work at the company headquarters in Chieti, Abruzzi, mostly in the sales department, while the CEO Michel Lhoste left the company a month ago. "The management of all our lines was transferred from Italy to Hydepark Crescent, a group which owns other brands and nearly 2,000 stores in Asia. The business plan of the new owners foresees the creation of a new company designed to handle initially only the Italian market, followed by an expansion into Europe. This contradicts what is currently happening. They are closing shops, including franchises in Italy and Europe," criticized the union representative.
Under this plan, the new company would save only 50 jobs, increasing to 120 jobs by 2018 with the ability to manage Sixty brands for 5 years, plus an additional renewable five years term. "The plan was not detailed, and we do not know which markets the new owners want to develop. The impression is that they do not have the ability to manage the Sixty brands," said Marino D'Andrea.
Sixty did not respond to questions for this article. In an effort to find a solution, a new meeting has been called in Rome by the Italian Ministry of Economy for December 19.
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