The chairman and CEO of French retail group Vivarte, Marc Lelandais, has played down the significance of the French retail group breaching its debt ceiling.

At the end of May, Vivarte, which owns a portfolio of 22 clothing and footwear brands including André, Naf-Naf, Minelli and Chevignon, saw its debt to EBITA ratio, set at 6.0, reach 6.3.

"It's an overshoot of reasonable proportions and can be explained by purely cyclical factors between March and May," explained Lelandais, adding that Vivarte
had the means to respect all of its commitments to banks, suppliers and employees.

There had been a net rebound in Vivarte's sales in June and to mid-July, a spokesman for the group told just-style today (19 July).

He also confirmed Mr Lealandais comments which appeared in the French media.

Vivarte's operating performance was "very healthy and the group did not need an injection of liqudity nor was it on the point of defaulting, Lelandais emphasised.

He stressed that Vivarte had the backing of its principal shareholder, UK-based Charterhouse Capital Partners, to continue with the strategy of re-positioning its
brands.