The Commercial Court of Bobigny pronounced the liquidation of the sign of clothes at a low price. The end of hope for employees who hoped to take over their business as a cooperative, but suffered from a lack of symbolic visibility.
It’s over for the Mim clothing workers who were still hoping to take over their cooperative business as part of a desperate attempt to save their jobs. While all the cameras were turned towards Amiens and the eventful visit of Emmanuel Macron at the bedside of the 289 Whirlpool workers threatened with dismissal, the commercial court of Bobigny (Seine-Saint-Denis) dropped the chopper by ordering on Wednesday the pure and simple liquidation of the fashion brand at low prices. This will result in the closure of the 162 Mim stores and the elimination of 791 permanent positions. Only 287 employees will keep their work: their 71 shops will be taken over by a tandem formed by the Swiss group Tally Weijl and French Etam, whose partial recovery plan was validated on March 28 by the same court of Bobigny. For all the others, it’s direction Pôle Emploi.
This new social drama was played out in a relative political and media indifference. Because the Mim, whose stores are spread throughout the territory, do not have the symbolic value of workers in Whirlpool Amiens, Alstom Belfort or Arcelor Florange. Their fate will have mobilized for a while the Secretary of State for Industry, Christophe Sirugue, who had promised on behalf of the State a loan of 5.6 million euros from the Fund for Economic and Social Development to support a recovery in Scop (cooperative society worker) rise in disaster by employees with their HRD-.
Cooperative last chance
But despite the support of the government, this last-ditch cooperative, which planned to associate employees to take 135 out of 158 stores and save 650 jobs, did not convince the commercial court. The judges saw only the catastrophic financial balance sheet of the company which had been placed in receivership in November 2016. At the time, Mim had a debt of 60 million euros for less than 150 million figures. business. For the 2015-2016 financial year, the loss amounted to 9 million euros. And today, the liabilities flirt with the 100 million euros while the stock of clothing remaining in the store is worth only 9 million …
Obviously, bitterness is great among employees. In a statement, their union Unsa denounced a “scandalous decision” that “prevents any possibility of survival of this company […] while the project of recovery through a Scop had advanced very well” and that ” State had undertaken to accompany him financially. “791 employees will lose their jobs because we let people steal this family business that worked well, we have a seniority far greater than other brands,” said AFP a trade unionist CFDT.
Created in 1976 in the Sentier district (Paris II e) Mim had indeed experienced rapid success in the niche of women’s fashion at low prices before the British group New Look Acquires its founders. In 2014, the brand still generates 180 million euros in revenue, but its profitability erodes and its British owner, wishing to enter the stock market, then sells it to Main Asia, a group based in Hong Kong. Mim then changes sourcing strategy by relying on a single supplier who provides 70% of its collection “at higher prices than in the past,” explained late March to Liberation Mickael Gharbi, union delegate Unsa.
The fatal error of the new shareholder. Because the sector of the cheap clothing is in full war of the prices under the pressure of big globalized signs as H & M or Zara. This is the tumble filing for bankruptcy last fall. The fall of Mim is a new episode in the crisis in the textile sector in France. Last February, Tati was put on sale by its owner, Eram, and thanks to the weight of its brand interest several buyers including the group Gifi. For its part, the Cloth Hall, owned by the Vivarte group, closed 250 stores and eliminated 1,600 jobs between 2015 and 2016.
Open letter to candidates
Today, the result is there. Due to the lack of sufficient cash flow, the conversion of Mim’s 800 or so employees is difficult and their compensation will probably have to be covered by the wage guarantee insurance (AGS). With the liquidation, the 791 employees of Mim who will be dismissed will in any case not have time to call for help the next tenant of the Elysee. Among them, “many women who raise their children alone, “ says the representative of the CFDT, deeming “inhumane” the decision to close immediate stores. “We did not even have time to warn the clients,” she regretted. So Macron … On March 22, Mim’s staff delegate, Isabelle Vilela, wrote an open letter titled “I will soon be unemployed like 800 of my colleagues and the presidential candidates do not care”. History has unfortunately proved him right. Benoît Hamon, Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Nathalie Arthaud were moved by the fate of the “Mimettes”. But none of them passed the first round.