Galeries Lafayette Group set to return to China

Galeries Lafayette Group is set to return to China after a 15 year absence with the unveiling of a new department store in Beijing. 

The luxury department store group has been absent from the country for 15 years following the closure of its previous outpost in the capital. However, Phillipe Houzé, executive chairman of Galeries Lafayette Group, believes there is a potential in the Chinese market.

“China has huge potential for a brand like Galeries Lafayette, and we believe our offer and store format are sufficiently well adapted to the Chinese market for us to develop them on a larger scale,” he told WWD.

The store will house 500 brands over six-stories of retail space, making it the second-largest Galeries Lafayette store in the world behind its Paris flagship.

The 350,000 sq ft department store is part of a joint venture between Galeries Lafayette and Hong Kong-based I.T Limited, who expect to open 15 department stores across China in the next couple of years.

Despite fluctuating demand for luxury goods in China, the multi-brand retail scene seems to be heating up. Earlier this month, Lane Crawford opened a 150,000 sq ft flagship in Shanghai, while 10 Corso Como add to its portfolio with a store opening in September.

Consumer spending in China has been at its lowest for 13 years with the nation expecting a modest 7.5 per cent economic growth for 2013. Houzé remains undettered by the country’s lack of spending however, reaffirming that the company’s product offering of affordable to premium-based brands will appeal to China’s emerging middle class, as well as its luxury core audience.

“We are not here for six months or two years. We are here for the middle and long term,” he said. “I foresee a slow but sure growth of this market, and perhaps even faster-than-average growth for the category of consumer we are targeting”.

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