The Galeries Lafayette group sells the BHV to the Société des grands magasins
The Galeries Lafayette group continues to reduce its portfolio of department stores. After having sold 33 of its department stores between 2018 and 2021, which are still operated by franchisees, it announced on February 16 that it had entered into exclusive negotiations with a view to selling the BHV Marais, as well as the BHV located at Parly2. The buyer is none other than the Société des grands magasins (SGM), which has already acquired in 2021, seven Galeries Lafayettes in Angers, Dijon, Grenoble, Le Mans, Limoges, Orléans and Reims.
This operation, which concerns two stores, should be completed during 2023, after having passed the information-consultation process with the staff representatives and the authorisation of the French Competition Authority.
The Bazar de l'hôtel de Ville (BHV Marais) is a historic retail outlet in the French capital, located for 160 years opposite the town hall and owned by the Galeries Lafayette group since 1991. In recent years, it has undergone modernisation renovations, and reduced the share of its fashion offer in favour of home and decoration. "Galeries Lafayette is now ready to consider handing over the BHV Marais to a family player who believes deeply in the potential of the department store on rue de Rivoli and wishes to continue its development with the help of its teams while preserving jobs," the group said in a statement.
The objective of the company owned by the Moulin-Houzé family is to concentrate its efforts and investments on its eponymous brand, Galeries Lafayette. Its three listed priorities are to continue work on the flagship on Haussmann Boulevard and its own network of 17 units, to strengthen its omnichannel approach and to grow internationally, notably in China, India and the Middle East.
A young real estate company created in 2018, Société des grands magasins was founded by Frédéric and Maryline Merlin, who also founded the Lyon-based company l'Avenue Développement Immobilier in 2015. Specialising in the revitalisation of city centre retail assets, with around ten shopping centres and seven Galeries Lafayettes in its portfolio, the company sees the acquisition of BHV as "a unique opportunity".
"If the project goes ahead, we will take the time to work in depth on the changes to be made to the sites, which will involve significant investment. By drawing on the expertise we have developed in revitalising city centre retail sites, as well as the BHV staff's experience and knowledge of the customers, we want to offer a modern, friendly and innovative retail experience dedicated to Parisians on sites that are real places to live, open to new urban trends", explains Frédéric Merlin, the chairman of the SGM group.
In Paris, the BHV is made up of several buildings in the Marais district, with almost 38,000 square metres of retail space in the building on rue de Rivoli. The lockdowns would have cost it 20% of its 330 million turnover in 2020, according to Les Echos. The BHV Parly2 was completely renovated in 2017, when the shopping centre based in Le Chesnay was modernised. The Galeries Lafayette group invested 24 million euros to completely remodel this 25,000 square metre outlet. BHV, which has been run by Amandine de Souza for five years, also has an online shop window launched in 2018.
In the past, the BHV network had many more addresses across France, some 30 units, many of which closed in the 1990s and 2000s. In 2018, the last two stores located in Lyon were closed, "following a decision by the management in view of the stagnation of the volume of activity in these two sites". The only remaining stores today are the two Parisian locations acquired by the SGM group.
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