Parisian department store La Samaritaine to open on June 19
The LVMH group had high hopes to be able to inaugurate revamped Parisian department store La Samaritaine before the summer. Renovation work at the retail complex, acquired in 2010 by the French luxury giant, was completed in the last few months. Having postponed its opening by a year, then pondered different dates in late May and early June, the department store will finally open on Saturday, June 19.
It means the end of a very long wait for this historic building located right in the heart of Paris, which LVMH bought in 2001, and which closed down in 2005.
After multiple administrative appeals and years of renovation work, for a €750 million investment, the site was opened to the press for a presentation in 2019. LVMH had put the running of the department store division in the hands of its DFS subsidiary, and planned to open La Samaritaine in April 2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic impact forced the group to postpone again.
Staff recruitment, which was halted last year, has restarted, and work has begun again on retail corners and specific areas within the complex. La Samaritaine is set to host no less than 600 brands, including 40 exclusives (the LVMH group’s leading names, as well as those of Kering and Richemont), across an area of about 20,000 square metres.
That's 10,000 square metres less than when the department store closed and four times smaller than the footprint of La Samaritaine, which was founded by Ernest Cognacq and Marie-Louise Jaÿ in 1870, in its heyday. In addition to a catering area, women's shoes, jewellery, menswear and sneakers will have their own dedicated spaces. The department store, which mixes elements of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, also features a beauty section expected to extend over more than 3,000 square metres.
Offices, private apartments and a crèche occupy part of the 70,000-square-metre complex on the banks of the Seine, which is also home to Cheval Blanc Paris, a 72-room prestige hotel designed to attract an international clientele. According to LVMH's initial plans, tourists were to account for half of the department store’s customers, generating the vast majority of its commercial revenue.
Before the pandemic, and comparing La Samaritaine with the results of the Galeries Lafayette’s Haussmann branch in Paris, French trade magazine LSA estimated that the revamped department store’s annual revenue could potentially exceed €500 million.
In the current context, this volume of business is unlikely to be a feature of the first financial reports to come out of the department store. Nonetheless, as it opens just 10 days before the start of the summer sales, La Samaritaine will be launching a serious seduction operation aimed at enticing customers, not only from Paris, but also from across France and Europe.
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