Groupe Beaumanoir in Exclusive Talks to Buy Caroll

PARIS — Groupe Beaumanoir has entered exclusive talks with Vivarte to buy affordable fashion label Caroll, with plans to beef up its digital means and expand it internationally, the group said Thursday.

“Caroll is a great brand that I have always admired, having operated several Caroll stores under a franchise agreement over the years,” said Roland Beaumanoir, president of Groupe Beaumanoir, in a statement. The group is based in Saint Malo, France, and also owns labels Morgan, Cache Cache and Bonobo, among others.

Jérôme Drianno, general director of Groupe Beaumanoir, said the move would allow the group to continue diversifying and growing its portfolio of brands and enter different market segments.

Vivarte has struggled to find its footing in recent years and has sold off the bulk of its brands — which once numbered more than a dozen. The debt-laden group was thrust into the political spotlight during the French presidential elections in 2017, with politicians calling for protectionist measures to maintain jobs at the ailing conglomerate that had owned well-known labels like Naf Naf, Chevignon, San Marina and Kookaï. Just over a year ago, it sought court protection for one of its remaining labels, La Halle, citing steep losses due to the coronavirus shutdowns.

The pandemic has deepened the divide between apparel labels that are equipped in the digital realm and those that have been slower to adapt to changing shopping habits.

In 2018, Vivarte had said it planned to invest 10 million euros in Caroll to accelerate digital development, launch concept stores and develop abroad.

Caroll is sold in a dozen countries, counts 1,200 employees and has nearly 500 stores. Annual sales are around 240 million euros, according to the statement.

The transaction, which remains subject to employee consultation and approval from regulatory authorities, is expected to be completed in the third quarter this year.

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