Acquisition of the assets of the company Charles Jourdan by Royer Group in partnership with
the company Dyag.
Charles Jourdan, luxury brand
The story of the brand begins in 1921 when Charles Jourdan creates a company under his name, in
order to manufacture heel shoes. They will meet an immediate success, that will be reinforced in the
thirties under the brand “Seducta”.
After 1950, the brand Charles Jourdan got renowned worldwide. René, Charles and Roland Jourdan,
sons of Charles joined their father at the management of the company. It designs shoes with Christian
Dior, at that time at the peak of its fame. In 1970, the company Genesco became the majority
shareholder but Roland Jourdan was still the manager. Three manufactures in Romans sur Isère,
Tournon sur Rhône and Annonay employed more than 2000 people.
The decline began after 1980 with the departure of Roland Jourdan, as the Swiss company was the
new majority shareholder of Charles Jourdan. However, still in the late nineties, the brand positioned
itself at an international level and got a true legitimacy in the luxury world, with its shoes but alos its
leather goods and numerous fashion accessories.
In 2003, the company Charles Jourdan was sold to Lux Diversity SA, a holding company of
Luxembourg controlled by French people. In two years time, the company Charles Jourdan was forced
to voluntary liquidation.
From decline to disaster
In August 2005, several companies of the Group Charles Jourdan were sentences by the commercial
court of Romans sur Isère. At that moment, 400 people were still working for the Group.
In October 2005, the commercial court sells Charles Jourdan to a holding company registered in
Guernesey, named Finaluxe. The recovery plan announced in September 2007 would lead to a quick
disappearance of the company. Two buy outs projects, planning to keep a part of the employees were
prepared, but were finally, given up in front of important uncertainties of that case. Wit nobody
interested in the buy out, the company Chares Jourdan was set in compulsory liquidation on
September 17th 2007 and all the employees were laid off.
In February 2008, Royer Group and the company Dyag presented separately buy out offers that were
not accepted. The offer chosen by the court would not be viable. As a consequence, the assets were
for sale again on November 21 st.
The situation became critical : the brand was not present anymore in professional shows or in stores
for three seasons. From a luxury brand renowned worldwide, only remained industrial equipments a
building that was already sold, some stores whose rents were staying unpaid, miscellaneous stocks
and brand rights badly managed.
In this situation, Royer Group and the company Dyag, that were competitors during the previous buy
out offer, decided to go into partnership to give Charles Jourdan a new future.
Royer Group is today one of the first European countries in the footwear industry. Originally, it was a
small Breton company, settled in Fougères. It is a town with a rich shoes industry past, like Romans
sur Isère. To ensure its growth, the company Royer was first specialised in importation of footwear
products intended for Mass Distribution.
During the last 15 years, famous brand licences enabled Royer Group to broaden its products offer
and to develop new market places. Important infrastructures were created thanks to strong
investments : 58 000 m2 of offices, showrooms and warehouses in about 10 countries. Creation
departments dedicated to several brands of the Group design today hundreds of models of shoes
Royer Group now employs more the 570 persons, 440 of them in France. Its turnover reaches 260
millions euros with 30 millions pairs of shoes sold this year. For each new collection, more than 13000
customers in 70 countries trust the company. The Group has become international but its head and
heart have stayed in Fougères where 176 persons are working on a modern site, which was enlarged
of 6000 m2 in 2007.
Recently, Royer Group has set itself on a new field : the luxury market. The launch of the line Paul &
Joe Sister, the acquisition of the brand Stephane Kélian in 2007, the signature of an agreement with
the international licence Patrick Cox in November 2008 are a proof of the will of the Group to make its
young luxury pole a strategic development line.
Royer group settled a creation and design department as well as a workshop in Romans sur Isère,
birth place of the brand Stephane Kélian. Collections and production of the luxury pole will be
managed by his new structure, whose aim is to create prototypes and samples, and to manufacture
small series. Stephane Kélian should be back into the luxury brand this spring with the opening of a
new flagship store in Paris, whose layout will draw its inspiration from the historical codes of the brand.
The revival of Charles Jourdan
The situation of the rights on the brand Charles Jourdan is particularly complex. Only the rights for
France are at stake. Rights for USA have already been sold. Rights for the rest of the world are
mortgaged by the previous owner creditors. It is because of its situation that in December 2007,
nobody was interested in the buy out of Charles Jourdan and that the liquidation was announced.
The revival of Charles Jourdan will require important resources, various skills and strategic
The partnership with Dyag
Facing this challenge and to help the revival of the brand, Royer Group and the company Dyag have
planned to create a common subsidiary, provisionally named “Jourdan 1921”.
The company Dyag is distributing shoes under brands that it owns, like Beefly or Butterfly. It is also
distributing brands under international licences like Jean Louis Scherrer or Balmain. Under the name
Balmain for example, the company Dyag sold 80 000 pairs of shoes in 2008 and has already 50 000
pairs ordered for 2009.
The project of a workshop in Romans sur Isère
Royer Group and the company Dyag decided that their common subsidiary, the company “Jourdan
1921” will bring its support to the creation of a new shoes workshop in the region of Romans sur Isère,
if a workshop project is economically viable.
This support to the project will concern two aspects. First, the production equipment of the previous
company Charles Jourdan, that could be useful to the future workshop, will be at disposal, for free.
Moreover, the company “Jourdan 1921” will support financially the workshop project according to the
terms that would be defined. Royer Group and the company Dyag will also be able to manufacture
their own brands, notably Stephane Kélian and Balmain.
In order to be economically viable and to get customers, a part from the company “Jourdan 1921” and
its partners, the future workshop will have to meet the strong requirements in terms of technical offer
and production quality.
But the management of such a workshop is not part of the functions of Royer Group or Dyag. They
have to find persons expert for this project. The two companies are having discussions with several
local actors of the leather industry. With Yann Bastien, a local company, expert in the manufacture of
high quality shoes, these discussions has lead to an agreement, that will need to be précised and
validated with concerned actors.
Reinventing Charles Jourdan
For three years, Charles Jourdan has been quoted more often within the “social plans” or “companies
difficulties” sections than during shows or in fashion magazines.
The revival of the brand will need the creation of new collections and the rebuilding of distribution
networks, drawing its inspiration from Charles Jourdan’s heritages but adapting it with imagination.
As for the most famous luxury and fashion brands, the strength of images and the memory of the
prosperous years of Charles Jourdan can still make possible the revival of the brand. But we will not
rebuild it only on nostalgia. For the brand Charles Jourdan to revive, it will totally be re-invented.