Article Nov 22, 2016

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Sonia Rykiel to cut jobs and close diffusion line

Sonia Rykiel is cutting nearly a quarter of staff and shutting down its diffusion line.

Bosses at the French fashion brand confirmed 79 positions out of 330 will be axed in a statement released to Reuters on Wednesday (26Oct16).

It was also announced that diffusion range Sonia by Sonia Rykiel will be shuttered, with the reason behind the move cited as a drop in tourist spending in Europe and lower demand from Russia.

The company, known for its knitwear and brightly striped dresses, plans to re-focus activities on its original Sonia Rykiel line as well as introducing more accessibly priced products.

"Refocusing the business's resources on the main collection will strengthen its distribution and enable the organisation to adapt to the challenges of tomorrow," the company said in a statement.

The news comes shortly after the death of the label's eponymous founder at the age of 86 in August this year (16). Instantly recognizable by her bright red hair, she founded her fashion house in the Saint-Germain des Pres quarter of Paris in 1968.

At the house's Paris Fashion Week mainline show, designed by Julie de Libran, it paid tribute to Rykiel, spelling out her name on the catwalk.

In 2012, the Rykiel family sold an 80 per cent stake of the business to Fung Brands, an investment company backed by Hong Kong billionaires Victor and William Fung, which also oversees Belgian leather goods firm Delvaux and French shoe brand Robert Clergerie.

Now called First Heritage Brands, the holding company bought the balance from the Rykiel family earlier this year (16).

The restructure at Sonia Rykiel echoes comments made by executives at Hugo Boss this week (beg24Oct16), whereby the company is seeking to scale back its attempt to break into the luxury segment.