According to the French media, a former executive of Bata, Eram, Vivarte and a big British sports and fashion retailer, JD Sports Fashion, are among a dozen candidates that have made firm bids for the acquisition of some of the 136 stores of Bata France, which filed for insolvency last November, as we reported. Most of the stores are in good, central locations.
JD, which is controlled by Pentland Group, has probably made the best offer, proposing to take over about 100 stores to convert them to its sports fashion banner, JD. It already operates 29 JD stores in France and owns a French chain of sporting goods stores, Chausport.
Another offer has come from François Le Ménahèze, a former president of Bata France between 2009 and 2010. He is reportedly ready to take over at least half of all the stores, passing on some of them to two other fashion and sports retailers and running the others together with their store managers.
The offers made by Vivarte and Eram are perhaps less likely to be accepted. With its numerous shoe retail chains, including André and Minelli, Vivarte is the largest shoe retailer in France, followed by Eram. They are probably interested in fewer French Bata stores at strategic locations to avoid cannibalization with their existing large store networks. They also may want to rehire a small number of Bata store employees, but they are said to be planning to share some locations with Spartoo, one of the two major French online shoe retailers, and with a French chain of jewellery shops.
The bankruptcy court that is overseeing the insolvency proceedings has reportedly set Feb. 10 for its choice among the different offers on the table.