For anyone working in retail and leisure there is so much to admire about Paris, even though I am naturally biased to everything London has to offer. On a recent team work trip to meet with retailers and colleagues from our Paris office, three clear trends stood out.
The Olympics effect
Just as we witnessed in London in the lead up to the 2012 Olympic Games, brands are clamouring for flagships to be open by next summer when the French capital will host the summer spectacle.
Take a stroll along the Champs-Élysées currently and to the untrained eye it could look as if there is significant vacancy.
However, our Cushman & Wakefield Paris colleagues confirm this is due to the sheer number of new retailers fitting out, progressing deals, or, in the case of Dior and Sephora, undertaking store refurbishments to be ready for the starting gun of the Olympics.
Perhaps unsurprisingly sportwear and athleisure sectors have been keen to capitalise on this with On Running, Hoka, New Balance and Arc’teryx all agreeing deals.
The reasons for taking a store pre-Olympics are not hard to understand, with a blend of being open while the eyes of the world are on the city, increased sales opportunity from the influx of international and domestic tourists, the global board or owner being present for the Olympics and wanting to see the brand open, and, of course, the huge sponsorship opportunities.
LVMH has announced its sponsorship of the Paris Olympics, a deal estimated to be worth around €150m (£130m). LVMH brands involved will include Louis Vuitton, Dior, Moët & Chandon and Hennessy, with jewellery house Chaumet designing the medals and Sephora sponsoring the Olympic torch relay.
Across all the key global cities, we have seen the Big 5 luxury groups upsizing flagship stores for their brands, either through relocation or more often by expanding vertically or horizontally to maximise sales and the ‘wow’ factor.
Another trend Cushman & Wakefield has noted is the desire international visitors have to shop in a brand’s home city.
Take, for example, the queues for the Loewe flagship in Spain, Casa Loewe in Madrid, or the appeal of shopping Burberry in any of their flagship stores in London.
Paris is no different and the newly-opened Dior flagship at 30 Avenue Montaigne highlights this at 108,000 sq ft and features everything from the latest collaborations such as Dior x Birkenstock, to a Dior Museum, the Monsieur Dior restaurant, and La Pâtisserie Dior, which overlooks a rose garden.
Dior isn’t the only luxury lifestyle brand to merge into the hospitality world.
Restoration Hardware is busy fitting out the former A&F store at the bottom of the Champs-Élysées and we will wait to see if this will contain a restaurant to mirror that of its hospitality offers elsewhere.
These include RH New York in the Meatpacking District, and its newly-opened RH England at the Grade I-listed 73-acre estate Aynho Park in Oxfordshire.
Elsewhere, the redevelopment by LVMH of the La Samaritaine department store underscores this trend as the building now includes the luxury hotel Cheval Blanc and a range of restaurants.
Lastly, at the Kith store at Rue Pierre Charron, almost the entire ground floor – traditionally the prime retail space – is given over to F&B including Kith treats which I can confirm are très bon.