Sep 16, 2015
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Galeries Lafayette to revamp Paris flagship and expand abroad

Sep 16, 2015

French department store chain Galeries Lafayette is to revamp its flagship Boulevard Haussmann store in Paris next year, and will open at seven new locations abroad by 2020 to tap high-spending shoppers from emerging markets.

The makeover of the Haussmann store, popular with Asian tourists, is part of an offensive to modernize the image of the 120-year-old retailer, as well as attracting more Parisian shoppers.

Galeries Lafayette

The group gave no details of the makeover but said a redesigned logo, showing the company name in black letters resembling a painter's brush strokes, and intended to evoke "creative energy", and new slogan, "The New Chic", will be rolled out in media and at its 64 stores in coming months.

Department store division head Nicolas Houze said the company also aimed to boost e-commerce sales to 10 percent of group turnover by 2020 from 2 percent this year.

The efforts will be funded out of an annual capital spending budget of 100 million euros ($112 million).

Founded in 1894, Galeries Lafayette, whose main French rival is luxury-focused Le Printemps, also owns the BHV home improvement chain and the Royal Quartz and Louis Pion watch brands.

Houze was speaking as Galeries Lafayette reported sales of 1.7 billion euros for the first half of 2015, broadly flat versus the same period a year ago.

Sales from the Haussmann store rose 3.5 percent, driven by robust demand from Asian and North American tourists. Foreign tourists account for 50 percent of clients at the Haussmann store, with Chinese leading the way, followed by visitors from the United States and southeast Asia.

The Chinese are the world's biggest buyers of luxury goods, and spending by Chinese customers in Europe has hit record levels, according to a report by duty refund company Global Blue in April.

The recent devaluation of the Chinese yuan threatened to dent their spending power, but July and August saw no change in the flow of Chinese shoppers, the group said.

The company has overseas stores in Berlin, Casablanca, Jakarta, Dubai and Beijing, and plans to open in Milan, Doha and Istanbul by 2018.

($1 = 0.8913 euros)


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