Sonia Rykiel to axe its diffusion line: Sonia by Sonia Rykiel
By WGSN Insider

By the end of 2017, the French fashion house will close its diffusion line. WGSN Global News Editor Nigel Taylor reports

Oct 27, 2016
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Sonia Rykiel closure: diffusion line
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Sonia Rykiel closure: diffusion line
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French fashion house Sonia Rykiel is to axe its more affordable Sonia by Sonia Rykiel line and cut almost a quarter of its staff due to falling sales on weaker demand. The house said it will cut 79 out of 330 staff mostly in its design studio, back office and distribution departments.

Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, which operates four standalone stores and four corners in department stores, will be closed by the end of 2017.

Meanwhile, the house also plans to reposition its main Sonia Rykiel line, “introducing more accessibly priced products, to meet the demands of an increasingly competitive market,” it said.

CEO Eric Langon has admitted the house was hit hard by the successive impact of the Russian financial crisis, the slowdown in consumer spending in Asia and the impact of terrorist attacks on tourism to Paris and the rest of Europe.

Sonia Rykiel closure

Campaign imagery from Sonia by Sonia rykiel, the diffusion line

This has hurt progress made following the arrival of Julie de Libran as artistic director in 2014.

Sales returned to positive territory last year for the first time since 2008, with revenues up 3% year-on-year, Langon said, without providing figures.

“This growth in revenues is not sufficient today to guarantee sustainable growth for the house and its activities in the years to come,” he told WWD.

“Unfortunately, the economic situation remains very complicated and 2016 is also difficult. I hope to end the year with another sales increase,” he said, adding that sales in its retail network were down 1% in the year to date.

Langon said the Sonia by Sonia Rykiel brand was “not delivering the expected returns… However, we believe we are capturing a new clientele with the Sonia Rykiel line and it is important to accelerate and amplify that phenomenon by widening the offer for Sonia Rykiel and repositioning the line at a more accessible price point.”

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