Vivarte, the French retailer that sold its former flagship La Halle in July to Groupe Beaumanoir, recorded sales for the fiscal year ended in August of €256.6 million, a 26 percent drop from the previous year on a comparable basis.

Since the arrival of Patrick Puy at the head of Vivarte in July 2017, the group sold most of its assets, including Chevignon, Cosmoparis, André, Kookaï, Naf Naf and Besson. It now only owns Caroll and Minelli.

Caroll sales fell by 27.1 percent to €172 million, while Minelli revenues dropped by 25.0 percent to €93 million, both on a comparable basis.

The group blamed this performance on the repeated closure of shops in France and abroad, as well as the halt in tourist flows due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 were also disrupted by social movements in France, including demonstrations about the pension reform and the yellow jackets movement.

The management said it acted in seeral ways in response to the structural decline in the clothing and footwear markets amid the pandemic, including changes to its cost structure, the optimization of inventories and collections, and anticipation of orders. It also implemented a rigorous management of capital expenditure, combined with renegotiations of the leases with landlords.

Nevertheless, the group’s Ebitda was a negative €20.3 million, hampered by lower sales and margins.

Vivarte warns that its physical store network will continue to suffer from the pandemic over the fiscal year 2020-21, and so it will rely on online sales to drive growth for the future. Caroll has recorded a 48 percent increase in online sales since the reopening of the stores, while Minelli saw a 22 percent growth. The group believes that the share of online sales out of total turnover for both brands will reach a double-digit figure next year.

Caroll will develop its digital offer through an omnichannel strategy. It will also focus on growing internationally and on sustainability. Meanwhile, Minelli will work to improve its offering through the expansion of the women’s fashion range and overall quality of the collections.