Dutch clothing group C&A reportedly weighing Chinese bid

C&A in Sneek. Photo: Vysotsky via Wikimedia Commons

Clothing stores group C&A which is owned by the wealthy Brenninkmeijer family is reportedly considering a sale to a group of unnamed Chinese investors, according to German magazine Der Spiegel.

Der Spiegel said a contract for the sale is ready to be signed, the Financieele Dagblad said on Monday.  C&A would not confirm the report, but flatly refused to deny it. C&A has its headquarters in Amsterdam.

Cofra, the Swiss-based holding company for C&A, said in a written statement that there is potential for ‘partnerships’ in a growing market like China. ‘Other forms of outside investment could be a part of this,’ Cofra said.

Philippe Brenninkmeijer, the European chief of the company until mid-2017, was last heard of in public in 2016 when he admitted C&A was facing declining sales and profitability was judged to be too low. He was replaced by Alain Caparros, formerly of German supermarket chain REWE, a non-family member in a break with tradition, Reuters news agency reported.

In 2016 C&A announced it would spend €1bn over four years in sprucing up stores. The group’s sales decline stopped in 2016, Marc Estourgie, C&A Nederland director said in the FD last year.

C&A’s last sales figures date back to 2012 when it turned over €6.8bn. The Brenninkmeijer family is worth an estimated €20bn and is among the richest in Europe. C&A’s 68 shareholders are managers in the group as well as being members of the family.

Founders Clemens and August Brenninkmeijer opened their first store in Sneek in northern Friesland province in 1841. The group now operates more than 1,500 stores in 18 European countries and has a payroll of more than 35,000. There are 131 C&A stores in the Netherlands.


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