January 9, 2018 / 8:17 PM / a year ago

Online shoe retailer Spartoo in talks to buy Vivarte's Andre

The logo of the brand "Andre", owned by the Vivarte Group, a French giant ready-to-wear apparel and footwear retailer, is seen at a shop in Strasbourg, France, January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

PARIS (Reuters) - French online shoe and fashion retailer Spartoo has entered exclusive negotiations to buy rival shoe brand Andre from debt-laden clothing retailer Vivarte, the company said on Tuesday.

Spartoo, founded in 2006, generates annual sales of 150 million euros ($179 million) and competes with online fashion retailer Zalando (ZALG.DE) among others in Europe.

It would nearly double its annual sales by acquiring Andre, which generates sales of over 100 million euros a year, and has a network of around 100 stores and employs around 750 people.

“The Spartoo group would commit to taking over all of Andre’s shops and their staff,” it said in a statement, adding that it hoped to conclude the deal in the second-half of the year.

Vivarte, which faces competition from larger clothing retail chains such as H&M (HMb.ST), Kiabi and Primark, is restructuring its business to improve its financial situation.

It sold its Kookai fashion brand, Pataugas shoes and Spanish shoes brand Merkal last year.

“The project proposed by the Spartoo group would allow Andre to have the means to develop within its core customer base,” Vivarte President Patrick Puy said.

Spartoo was founded by Boris Saragaglia, Paul Lorne and Jérémie Touchard and is active in 20 European countries.

Its main shareholders are the co-founders, the funds A Plus Finance, CIC, Belgium’s Sofina, and Highland Capital Partners from the United States.

Reporting by Pascale Denis; writing by John Irish. Editing by Jane Merriman

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