Papillon, a Dutch brand of dance and fitness products that went into receivership earlier this year, has been acquired by Sport Services, the Dutch company that already owns the Rucanor brand and provides logistical services for some Dutch retailers. The brand was previously called Le Papillon.
Papillon reported an annual turnover in the range of €5 million with dance clothing, footwear and accessories. Sales focus on the Netherlands, where the brand is sold in about 350 stores, as well as Belgium, Germany, France, the U.K., Spain, Italy and Eastern Europe.
As part of the brand's takeover, sealed in April, Sport Services has established a new subsidiary, Dansante. The business will be led by Martijn Nelissen, chief executive of Sport Services, along with Chantal Janssen, former owner and director of Papillon, and Hans van Breukelen as sales director.
Sport Services will pursue only the wholesale activities of Papillon, while its seven stores have already been closed – including a landmark store on Amsterdam's Rokin. Nelissen said that the business had not been damaged by the receivership, because activities were only halted for a few weeks in a relatively weak season for the dance market. Papillon is an obligatory brand at some top ballet academies in the Netherlands and strongly established throughout the Dutch dance market.
The buyers said Papillon was complementary with Rucanor, both have a strong never-out-of-stock service and Papillon could take advantage of the growth in the fitness market. Dansante will make use of the back office functions of Sport Services in Klundert, the Netherlands.
The acquisition fits with Nelissen's strategy to focus only on own brands and logistical services, which led to a spate of divestments in the recent years. He said the company sold Snauwaert as well as its share of ownership in Hi-Point, a low-priced tennis label; and Yep Yep, an apparel brand. It terminated Dutch distribution agreements with Head, Reusch, Level and Drake. It still owns Maupiti, a brand of high-end sports-inspired footwear, but that is not currently active in the market.