New hearing to review Go Sport's financial situation to take place on January 16
After a hearing organised on Monday, December 19, to examine the company's finances, the commercial court of Grenoble was to give its decision this Wednesday concerning Go Sport's situation and its possible state of cessation of payments, which could have led to a placement in receivership. The sporting goods retailer, which was bought by Hermione People & Brands (HPB) from the Rallye group in late 2021 for a symbolic one euro, has been granted a stay of execution. The court has appointed an investigating judge to study the case, as reported by France Bleu Isère. A new hearing is scheduled to take place on January 16.
A local radio station indicated that the deputy prosecutor intended by this decision to send "a message of vigilance but also of confidence, which calls for the mobilisation of all stakeholders to save the company."
In a press release published on December 21, HPB stated that the court's decision "confirms that there is no urgency in Go Sport's financial situation", and specified that it should allow "the 2,160 Go Sport employees, who were unjustly worried by the dissemination of erroneous, unfounded, denigrating or defamatory information about the company and its managers, to regain serenity and confidence in their company and in the work already carried out since the acquisition."
During the hearing on December 19, Go Sport's auditors and an independent expert appointed by the staff representatives informed the court that the company had ceased payments. The management of HPB, which saw its clothing chain Camaïeu liquidated this autumn, had produced another independent report, declaring that it was not in default. The group had also requested the opening of a conciliation procedure, with the stated objective of selling Go Sport.
The elected representatives of the Central Social and Economic Committee (CSEC) of the retail chain with 223 stores (80 of which are owned by the company) have also reported transfers of money from Go Sport to HPB for an amount estimated to be 36.3 million euros, according to AFP. Worried union representatives have also reported in the local press that the stores' shelves are sparse and lacking in merchandise.
On the other hand, CEO of Go Sport, Benoît Verdier, stepped down from his position on December 1. However, he will be replaced "at the beginning of January 2023", stated HPB in its press release, without yet revealing the identity of Verdier's successor.
The group owned by Michel Ohayon had insisted a few weeks ago that the brand was a "healthy company," "in full development," and that "no confusion" should be made between Go Sport and Camaïeu. Against a backdrop of mistrust among some of its employees, Ohayon announced today that he expects "a return to profit in 2023 after 17 years of losses."
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