Chanel has decided to close down its core production sites in three western European countries: France, Italy, and Switzerland; either completely or partially, the fashion house announced on Thursday.
“Chanel has taken the decision, in accordance with the latest government instructions, to close for two weeks, and gradually, all of its production sites in France, Italy, and Switzerland (Watchmaking), as well as its Haute Couture work-shops and Ready-to-Wear, Crafts and Jewelry,” the Paris-based house, said in a statement released to FashionNetwork.com.
The house noted that in some cases, the closings may only be partial, since certain sites require at least minimum presence for security reasons.
“Production is stopped. Some distribution sites operate at minimum with a very limited presence of employees in order to ensure business continuity when this is imperative. In these cases, very small teams benefit from reinforced conditions to protect their health and safety. They are asked to respect the instructions for social distancing, to limit physical interactions to those that are essential and to respect all barrier gestures,” Chanel explained.
Chanel had already closed down all its boutiques in France and Italy, as both those countries went into lock-down, following drastic government decrees. On Monday, France went into a 15-day lockdown, where citizens are only allowed out of their homes with written permission and then only to visit food stores, pharmacies, banks, post offices or press agents.
“Teleworking has been generalized for all employees who work in offices or production sites. Chanel is committed for this period, to maintain the remuneration of all of its employees, in addition to the legal system put in place by the government,” a brand's representative added.
In France, thousands of companies have already activated labor law regulations that permit for partial employment of staff working from home, therefore allowing employers to receive financial aid from the government. Or a measure that significantly reduces social charges at a moment when revenues have nose dived.
Hermès International also reportedly closed down its French plants, according to French news agency Agence France Presse, which cited an internal memo destined to the former's staff, which came from CEO Axel Dumas. The luxury brand declined any comment.
In addition, Chanel said it was “reflecting on the best way to join the efforts to fight the Covid-19 epidemic and contribute to national solidarity efforts, in particular to support doctors and hospital staff in a particularly trying context.”
Other French luxury brands have already changed production plans in their factories to aid in the struggle against the coronavirus pandemic. Luxury conglomerate LVMH has already begun producing hydroalcoholic gel in factories belonging to three of its brands - Parfums Christian Dior, Guerlain, and Parfums Givenchy – and delivering the gel free of charge to local health authorities.