The ever-changing world of Lafuma

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Seminar Business life | Friday June 2, 2006 - 9h30 - 12h

Lafuma has undergone numerous transformations since its creation in 1930 and its emergence as the second biggest European supplier of outdoor leisure equipment. In 1936, Lafuma’s launch of the modern backpack with a metal frame coincided with the arrival of paid holiday leave. Later, Lafuma’s camping equipment symbolised leisure activities for the masses. However, enthusiasm for camping waned and gave way to travel to exotic places, Club Med, and second homes. Lafuma filed for bankruptcy in 1984. Philippe Joffard was asked to turn the company around at the age of twenty-nine. He quickly transformed it by laying off one quarter of the workforce, relocating part of the production to Tunisia, and changing the savoir-faire of the rucksack to the schoolbag. He launched new products, made the company international and floated it on the stock exchange. The 35-hour working week and the fact that employees now take holiday leave in short periods throughout the year (cf. three week periods) convinced him that he should steer the company towards a limited number of outdoor activities. This resulted in a style which is in keeping with his customers’ tastes for nature and ecology.

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This session was published in issue n°63 of the Journal de l'École de Paris du management, entitled L'aventure.

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