Parisian luxury complex La Samaritaine postpones opening
The curtain was set to go up last month to reveal the new look of Parisian luxury complex La Samaritaine, but its reopening, after 15 years of inactivity and renovation work, has now been postponed. French newspaper Le Monde has reported that La Samaritaine is planning to open in early 2021.
The Covid-19 crisis has played havoc with the plans drawn up last year. Renovation work stopped in March, and the ongoing slump in consumption expenditure, together with the absence of foreign tourists, are not conducive to a grand reopening. Le Monde indicated that, rather than postponing the opening to autumn 2020, the chosen month might be February next year, since it also coincides with the Chinese New Year holidays. La Samaritaine is owned by LVMH and operated commercially by its subsidiary DFS, a specialist in duty free retail, and customers from China and Asia are one of its mainstays.
LVMH had approved a €750 million renovation budget to bring back the La Samaritaine complex, which had been closed since 2005, to its former glory. The new complex extends over 70,000 m2 across two blocks, and is home to a department store, shops, affordable housing, a nursery, luxury apartments and offices.
La Samaritaine also needs to adapt to Covid-19, and some of its interiors will be redesigned in order to comply with health regulations applying to store staff and customers, especially the check-out areas, the fitting rooms and the flow of customer traffic.
“Renovation work was due to end in a month and a half, and it has re-started a few days ago. Our contractors are busy again. And we now have to adapt to the protection measures and new safety equipment that are mandatory,” said a director of LVMH speaking to Parisien magazine, indicating that a new date for the opening hasn’t yet been set. Contacted by FashionNetwork.com, LVMH did not respond.
The luxury complex’s re-opening is expected to create 700 new jobs at the department store alone, which is planning to distribute some 600 labels, 40 of them exclusively. The department store will have a retail area of 20,000 m2, selling accessories, ready-to-wear, cosmetics, watches and jewellery. It will also feature restaurants. Paris’s central rue de Rivoli, whose commercial landscape is being redesigned, was eagerly awaiting the reopening of La Samaritaine. It will have to wait a while longer.
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