LVMH to reopen Paris La Samaritaine complex with DFS luxury store in 2019
After Venice, duty-free retailer DFS is getting ready to land in Paris by reopening the La Samaritaine complex, bringing the historic department store, closed since 2005, back to its erstwhile splendour.
The 70,000-square-metre complex, owned by LVMH, is located in the heart of Paris, between rue de Rivoli and the river Seine, and is undergoing major renovation work. Besides the luxury department store operated by DFS, it will host a Cheval Blanc hotel, offices, affordable housing and a nursery.
Japanese architecture studio Sanaa is in overall charge of renovation work at La Samaritaine, while the store's interior design was commissioned to Hubert de Malherbe and Toronto-based practice Yabu Pushelberg.
The new luxury store is the first by DFS in France, and will maintain La Samaritaine's historic name, a name that is deeply rooted in the collective memory of Parisians, giving a new lease of life to one of the French capital's signature destinations.
Being located in the heart of the city, as is, for example, the DFS store at the T Fondaco dei Tedeschi shopping centre in Venice, the store will not offer duty-free shopping for all, but will allow non-EU residents to shop tax-free.
"Developed and operated by DFS, [the new store] will extend across all floors, from the ground floor to the huge, iconic skylight, over a 20,000-square-metre retail area, and will be called La Samaritaine. The idea is to focus on a range of products highly suited to the building's location," said Eléonore De Boysson, Executive Vice-President Europe and Middle East for DFS, speaking to FashionNetwork.com.
"The number of brands available is expected to be double the 400 offered by the DFS store in Venice. We will focus above all on the shopping experience, which will be unique. A quintessentially French experience, in which culture will play a major role, and so will fine food, as the store will feature eight restaurants," added Eléonore De Boysson.
With the Venice opening in 2016, DFS introduced a new retail concept, more in sync with the new purchasing behaviour of luxury goods consumers.
"The Fondaco dei Tedeschi marked a new step in experiential shopping with an increasingly demanding, sophisticated, clientèle," said De Boysson. "In the course of one year, we fine-tuned our policy, growing from 300 to 400 brands and adding to our cultural program, to retain returning customers. We will adopt the same approach in Paris, but we will execute it differently."
The group is keen to capitalise both on La Samaritaine's local renown and on the reputation DFS enjoys in Asia, to attract local and international customers. In Venice, the retailer added to its range by introducing several small Italian brands, and in Paris it will place special emphasis on French culture.
The idea is to offer a classic range of products, from fashion to accessories, watches, jewellery, beauty, fine foods, wines and spirits, featuring a huge selection of "major international brands, niche French and Parisian labels and a craft gifts range," said Eléonore De Boysson.
DFS had a few troubled years, due to the slow-down of luxury goods sales in Asia, and is now on the upswing. It is currently present in 13 airports and operates 18 T Galleria stores.
"It's going much better, and it will be even better this year, with the expiry of the unprofitable Hong Kong airport concession," said LVMH CFO Jean-Jacques Guiony, speaking at the publication of the group's annual results on 25th January.
"The objective is to return to double-digit growth. Though not right away, considering the investment in new destinations which are becoming more and more popular, such as Macao, Venice and Cambodia," added the group's General Manager, Antonio Belloni.
Paris will soon be another of the group’s star destinations, with the reopening of La Samaritaine.
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