Nothing goes better for french charentaises

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Charente Charente does not manage to regain its former glory. Less than a year after obtaining a label that guarantees its expertise, it is in a bad situation: The Manufacture Charentaise (LMC), last factory in the department of the famous slipper, traditional symbol of comfort and fire corner , look for a buyer. The 108 employees of LMC Rivieres, north-east of Angouleme, should be fixed on their fate very soon, with the near certainty of the loss “colossal”, according to a union source, nearly two-thirds of jobs .

The company, placed in receivership on July 25, is the subject of three serious offers for recovery but the most optimistic in terms of jobs would only resume 38. The three files are those of Knitwear Saint-James, Pascal Becker, former senior manager of the Swiss group Givaudan (perfumes and aromas) and a duo of Parisian investors Stéphane Collaert and Thierry Le Guenic, buyers of Chevignon.

Turnover divided by two

Chaired by Renaud Dutreil, former minister of the Raffarin government, which holds half of the shares, LMC is the result of the merger in 2018 of four manufacturers of the famous Charentais slippers, which made a total of 13 million euros in turnover annual. According to a source familiar with the matter, the company has since almost halved this figure and recorded a net loss for the first four months of 2019 of nearly 700,000 euros, a situation particularly due to management problems and “bad choice of marketing”.

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“We try to understand the causes of all this,” says Henri Lalouette, departmental secretary FO, the union's sole union. The company, which turned to the high-end, would have too quickly abandoned traditional sales in supermarkets. Renaud Dutreil declined to comment, citing a recovery process “with the main objective of preserving the heritage of know-how of the company.”

Up to 1,000 employees

For the mayor of Rivers, Michel Cuny, “a closure of LMC would be a shock.This would be for the Charente lose some of its heritage.It is a recognized expertise,” said the elected of this town of 2.000 inhabitants who remembers that the manufacture of the slippers used around “up to 1,000 people”.

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Born in the late nineteenth century, the charentaise is the result of scrap manufacturing textile and paper industries located on the river Charente. The local cobblers, in Charente as in Périgord, had the idea of ​​recovering the felts used for pressing to make slippers, with the characteristic tongue that protected the foot of the wooden shoe and the very particular technique of “sewing”. returned, “an insole sewn and turned upside down, then returned.


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