Sales Continue to Fall at Lanvin, Deepening Crisis

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With slumping sales and crippling worry, France’s oldest fashion brand Lanvin continues to face a crisis. According to sources close to the situation, the staff is worried about coming up with a strategy that focuses on cost cutting. The label was founded in 1889 and is one of France’s last major independent fashion labels. The industry has recently been dominated by multi-brand groups such as LVMH and Kering. Ever since the abrupt exit of star designer Alber Elbaz in 2015 following a boardroom dispute, the company has been in turmoil.

Elbaz was hugely known for being the driving force behind the brand and presenting new, exciting ideas. Appointed in March 2016, designer Bouchra Jarrar has a more tailored approach, much in contrast to Elbaz’s ultra-feminine styles. So far, this new approached has failed; sales are still low. “The first collection went very badly, the second did not do better,” a source said, speaking anonymously because the company does not have published figures.

Another source close to the company numbers said that sales had fallen 23% last year, and continued to fall into 2017, slumping another 32%. This is in contrast to the strong performances of high-end luxury brands such as LVMH’s Louis Vuitton and Kering’s Gucci. With nearly 300 staff in France, the company sought strategy from advisory firm Long Term Partners to help cut costs, closing a variety of non-profitable stores. This strategy also is hoped to reduce advertising spending and story investments.

In addition, a plan to lay off nine people is in motion, while other employees are leaving and the company struggles to retain talent. While some management looked into creating a leather goods line for fashion outlets, others believe this would harm the luxury image Lanvin wants to uphold. “A jewel of the French fashion industry is under threat and staff are running out of patience,” one source said. A controlling shareholder and Chinese media magnate, Shaw-Lan Wang has been hesitant to invest in the brand for quite some time. She believed injecting more cash into the company would dilute her stake, so she refused to let her associate and Swiss investor Ralph Bartel contribute any more money. “He disagrees with the options chosen by the management and wants an urgent change in strategy,” a source said of Bartel. Only time will tell what will happen to this long-time, luxury French fashion line, but one thing is certain: if they don’t act fast and come up with a solution, the future of the company isn’t looking bright.

A coffee depended life-form who enjoys thriller novels, creative writing, and wearing heels to feel taller. Shy to acquaintances, presumably obnoxious to friends. Watched the Harry Potter saga more times than I should admit, but then I remember: who cares? Thoroughly enjoy getting dressed up, but love my fuzzy sweatpants. I like to think my life is interesting.

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