GBB, the French company that produces children's shoes under its eponymous brand name and those of Achile, Catimini and IKKS, is being taken over by Spartoo, one of the two major French online shoe retailers, which is operating in 25 European countries. Spartoo, which gets 14 million unique visitors every month but has been investing lately also in physical shoe stores, said it plans to expand the sale of GBB shoes outside France, particularly in other European markets and in China. It will keep 27 or 28 of GBB's 40 employees.
Spartoo was one of the four candidates to the acquisition of GBB from Kindy, which went bankrupt in April. A bankruptcy court at Beauvais decided to examine only three of the offers, which called for the preservation of between 15 and 29 jobs at GBB. The other two bids came from the big Royer Group, which already owns other brands of kids shoes like Aster and Mod'8, and from Kidshoes, a company from the same region as GBB that produces the Little Mary line of children's footwear.
The same court looked at three proposals for the takeover of Kindy's bigger socks business, which employs 110 people, and accepted that of Galatea, an investment fund based in Luxemburg. Kindy's financial problems, which stemmed mainly from the loss of a license for Dim socks, caused its total sales to slip by 16.4 percent to €32 million last year.
Founded by Georges Biotteau in 1947, GBB develops and sells shoes for children in the 0-12 age group. Catimini and IKKS are licensed lines. Achile was previously one of Kindy's brands of socks. The company was taken over in 2004 by Shoe & Shirt, the Austrian company behind the Richter brand of children's shoes, which then discovered some unexpected financial problem and eliminated some 200 jobs. It sold the business with 57 employees to Kindy two years later.