Getting rid of the loss-making division is first priority for French fashion retailer
French fashion retailer Etam Developpement has been dragged into a significant loss by its UK division and has appointed former Harrods chief executive Richard Simonin to head the group.

The group reported a consolidated E56.4 million (£38.7 million) net loss, thanks to losses of E76.4 million (£52.5 million) at the UK operation, which is up for sale.

Simonin, who takes the position of CEO, was today locked in meetings and unavailable for comment.

However, a statement from the company said: 'For 2005, Etam Developpement first intends to finalise its withdrawal from the UK. The group will also focus on its efforts on improving its performances in continental Europe. It will also continue to develop operations in China and expand its international franchises.'

Total group sales were down 2.4 per cent to E1.04 billion (£714.3 million) in the year to December 31. Like-for-like sales were down 3.7 per cent in France, dropped 7.2 per cent in the UK and were down 5.4 per cent in the rest of Europe. However, sales increased in the fledgling Chinese business by 37 per cent to E84.3 million (£57.3 million), an 8.1 per cent like-for-like increase.