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New Social Plan Underway for Boardriders as Quiksilver and Other Brands Managed by Beaumanoir Group

Boardriders, the board sports specialist, including brands like Quiksilver, is embarking on a new social plan and project. The French Beaumanoir Group will manage these brands in Western Europe for an initial period of 15 years, with a quarter of the 700 jobs in France set to be cut.

The takeover will keep Boardriders’ European headquarters in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, which Jean-François Irigoyen, the town’s mayor, described as “a necessary evil” for a company that has undergone multiple restructurings since 2013. The involved brands (Quiksilver, Billabong, Roxy, DC Shoes, Element, RVCA) have been owned by the US’s Authentic Brands Group since 2023 and will remain so. The 15-year agreement, signed on Tuesday and announced Wednesday, will see the Breton clothing group Beaumanoir (which includes Cache Cache, Bréal, Bonobo, Morgan, Caroll, Sarenza, La Halle) take over “the design of the pieces, production, and distribution” in Western Europe.

“Out of the 700 people working at the [European] headquarters in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, we are looking to save 500, since we will only have a third of the activity that was there,” said the group’s founder Roland Beaumanoir. He acknowledged that Beaumanoir would be “to blame” for a job retention plan already developed by Authentic Brands, which was a “somewhat painful event”. “This plan is unrelated to the negotiations with the Beaumanoir group,” stressed a statement from the Breton company, which mentions “164 job cuts” and “44 jobs created,” resulting in a net total of 120 job cuts. Beaumanoir promised that the headquarters will “not be transferred to Saint-Malo” (Ille-et-Vilaine), where Beaumanoir is based.

Contacted by AFP, the elected staff representatives on the Boardriders Social and Economic Committee (CSE) “did not wish to comment.” Irigoyen welcomed the group’s commitment to a multi-year recovery project. “It is true that there are redundancies, but they were planned before the takeover by the American group [Authentic Brands],” the mayor stressed. “It is a necessary evil: we are moving from an investment fund to a large French family business.”

“The aim is to restore balance within five years. They know that it will not be easy, but it is a family business that has experience in taking over companies. They are very serious people,” he said. The takeover should mark a new start for Boardriders, which has been weakened by several social plans and the death of its iconic boss Pierre Agnès in 2018.

After 38 job cuts in 2013, the company underwent another restructuring plan in 2016 and 136 redundancies in 2019. “We have been through a very difficult period, from 2016 to 2023, while we were held by a turnaround fund whose outlook was not geared towards investing to grow the company,” summed up Nicolas Foulet, president of Boardriders for the European zone, in an interview with the regional daily Sud Ouest.

“With the Beaumanoir group, we are going to reinvest in the city center locations that we have left,” Foulet stressed. Asked by AFP about the fate of the thousand or so employees in the stores, Beaumanoir stated in its press release that the PSE led by Boardriders “only concerns the perimeter of the headquarters in Saint-Jean-de-Luz,” while “all jobs in the stores will be saved.”

Beaumanoir, which achieved a turnover of 2 billion euros in 2022, employs more than 15,000 people worldwide and manages more than 2,000 points of sale. In Nouvelle-Aquitaine, the board sports sector is a major employer for jobs and tourist activities, providing 1,400 jobs in 2020 for equipment manufacturers, specialist clothing manufacturers, and retailers. Additionally, around 100,000 surfers visit New Aquitaine every summer. (AFP)

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