Galeries Lafayette aims to expand

20 March 2013

PARIS: Groupe Galeries Lafayette, the French retailer, is looking to buy cosmetics, fashion and jewellery brands as it faces up to weakening demand, the growth of ecommerce and the fact "the department store is dead".

"The department store is dead. Long live the multi-specialist lifestyle retailer," said Philippe Houzé, the firm's CEO, in an interview with Business Week.

The group plans to increase the revenue it earns from labels it owns from the current figure of 15% to 25%, Houzé confirmed, although he did not indicate how long he thought this process would take.

Galeries Lafayette sells luxury brands, with a focus on fashion, beauty and personal accessories. Analysts quoted by Business Week noted that owning the brands it sells would bring the retailer higher margins as well as a competitive advantage since other stores would not have the same offer.

A starting point is likely to be a renewed bid for Printemps, a rival French retailer with a similarly distinguished history. Combining the two, said Houzé, is "an opportunity to create a global player offering the art of French living".

Houzé also said the group was planning to expand overseas – it has a total of 62 stores – only three of which are outside France. Two more are opening this year in Jakarta and Beijing and a further seven are planned for Istanbul and other cities.

Data sourced from Business Week; additional content by Warc staff