Fashion chain JC Jeans & Clothes will lose every fourth store from next year.
23 Swedish stores break out from JC to start the new chain Jeansbolaget.
”Our agreement expired at the end of March and we have tried to negotiate but not managed to get a new contract,” says Tobias Frick who is the CEO of the new chain opening at the start of 2016.
JC is today owned by Chinese Denim Island group and has over 100 stores in Sweden and Finland. Some are run in-house, but a large part through franchise agreements. The chain was established in Sweden 1963 as Junior Center and has changed name several times, but kept the JC-letters all the way.
About 35 stores are today run by franchisees.
The Chinese owner Denim Island Group, based in Guangzhou, China, with its multi billionaire frontman and tycoon Gordon Wu, is a producer of jeans and denim products and wholesaler of a number of denim brands. But the first year had a lot of problems and confrontations leading to Chairman Tommy Nilsson resigning.
”Denim Island has valuable expertise in denim but also economic opportunity to help JC back to the strong position they had in Sweden and Finland,” said Gordon Wu, at the takeover.
The economic muscles were immediately useful since Denim Island reported a 60 million SEK loss in 2014.
Now 23 of the country’s nearly 100 JC stores are leaving to start a new concept.
Franchisees Tobias Frick, shopkeeper in Oskarshamn and Västervik, and Lars Bergman, owner of two Gävle-stores and a board member of JC are driving forces behind the change. Tobias Frick tells Barometern that the stores have struggled to get better terms.
”It was sad to take the decision, but now it just feels great. JC probably did not think that we would do this,” says Tobias Frick.
The JC-veteran also says the new stores will work much like JC did at the start as a voluntary specialist chain.
”We will have ten to twelve brands in all stores, but beyond that there is the freedom to choose what to offer, says Tobias Frick to Barometern.