Founded in 1978 by Paul Delage Roberge, the San Francisco Group was a key actor in Quebec’s fashion retail industry in the 1980s and 1990s. At the height of its popularity, the company was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and owned the following chains: San Francisco, San Francisco Maillots, West Coast, Victoire Delage, Moments Intimes, Bikini Village, Frisco, L’Officielle and Les Ailes de la Mode. Ultimately, it was Les Ailes de la Mode that triggered the company’s downfall when it opened a store on Montreal’s St. Catherine Street in 2002. Although this ambitious project intended to revolutionize the department store concept, it instead caused the San Francisco Group’s finances to plummet, driving the company to seek bankruptcy protection in 2003. The resulting restructuring plan led to the closing and sale of most of the Group’s chains.
In 2004, the San Francisco Group changed its name to Groupe Les Ailes de la Mode after transferring its San Francisco stores to Groupe Marie Claire. At that time, the company’s only remaining assets were the Bikini Village stores and four Ailes de la Mode stores. In 2005, the latter were purchased by the Fairweather Group of Toronto. The company founded by Paul Delage Roberge then became the Groupe Bikini Village until it was bought out in 2015 by la Vie en Rose, a lingerie chain.
As of 2018, Groupe Marie Claire still owns 40 San Francisco boutiques throughout Quebec and Ontario, while la Vie en Rose operates 60 Bikini Village stores across the country.
« Bikini Village ou une mine junior, quelle différence ? », La Presse, dimanche 12 mars 2006, (récupéré dans Eureka)
« Changement de la garde chez San Francisco », La Presse, vendredi 12 septembre 2003, (récupéré dans Eureka)
« Toute une saga ! Espérons que l’histoire mouvementée des Ailes ‘finira par finir’» La Presse, mardi 2 août 2005, (récupéré dans Eureka)
Madeleine Goubau, Collaborator