French department store Printemps will open on One Wall Street in New York in 2024 – WWD

PARIS – The French department store Printemps is once again setting its sights abroad.

After scrapping plans to open its first international branch in Milan due to the coronavirus pandemic, the retailer revealed on Wednesday that it will be moving to New York as it restarts its global expansion strategy.

“The United States is essential in our international development strategy and the opening in New York offers strong visibility and growth potential. We believe we can bring something unique, both to its base of committed local consumers and to the strong tourist flows that the city welcomes. It is also a strategic e-commerce market for luxury, fashion, home and beauty,” said Jean-Marc Bellaiche, Managing Director of the Printemps Group.

The group is still on track to open what will now be its first overseas location in Doha, Qatar next October, making the New York branch its second. The New York store is expected to open in early 2024.

The group had already eyed New York as part of its long-term growth strategy. “New York is a very demanding market, but the location we had identified in New York and the ongoing evolution of this rapidly changing market made New York very attractive,” Bellaiche told WWD. “Opening in the US and moving to New York checks many, many boxes.”

Among these are raising awareness of the brand with American tourists when they come to Paris and expanding the retailer’s global e-commerce footprint, following launches in the UK and Germany. Bellaiche also cited the rapid growth of luxury spending in the post-coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

“For many years, when you’ve looked at luxury relative to countries’ GDP, or relative to countries’ number of millionaires, you see that the US market is a bit underdeveloped compared to other markets,” a- he said, citing saturation in Asia and Europe. Pent-up savings and the urge to spend post-COVID-19 have boosted luxury sales, and this trend continues even as restrictions have been lifted and movement has returned to normal.

“Long term, we’re quite optimistic about the outlook for luxury fashion, beauty and home in the US, so it’s an attractive market,” he added.

Laura Lendrum, former executive of Saint Laurent, Gucci and Ralph Lauren, joins the group as the new CEO of Printemps America. Director of International Operations Olivier Schaeffer, who joined the group in July 2021, continues to oversee all international development.

Printemps plans to focus on omnichannel retail and “seamless” experiences to make a name for itself in the crowded shopping scene. “We plan to pioneer a new experiential retail format in this demanding and rapidly changing market,” added Bellaiche.

This isn’t the first time a French department store has attempted to break into the US retail market. Galeries Lafayette landed in New York’s Trump Tower in 1989, only to close three years later.

The new Spring does not come quietly. The department store will open in a 54,365 square foot space on two levels in the One Wall Street building in the Financial District. The Art Deco landmark recently underwent a $30 billion overhaul to convert the former bank headquarters into a mixed-use retail and residential tower.

The famous Red Room, designated as one of the city’s few indoor landmarks, will be a unique feature of the store. The 9,000 square foot Mosaic Room itself underwent a million dollar renovation after being closed to the public since 2001.

The store aims to be highly curated with a specialized mix of brands. “The goal is not to come with a standard format, it will be very unique, probably closer to a concept store and very experiential with a lot of personalized service,” Bellaiche said.

“We don’t go there with arrogance, but we go there with humility and confidence that we can bring something different. It’s a relatively small store by our standards,” he added, noting that the store flagship in Paris and the next store in Doha are significantly larger.

Parisian interior designer Laura Gonzalez, Maison & Objet’s 2019 Designer of the Year, was tasked with creating a Paris-meet-New York touch to the decor. She just finished redesigning the flagship Cartier in New York and has a bi-continental sensibility, Bellaiche said.

The design will be a mix of classic and modern, but with a series of rooms with different themes, some of which will be very futuristic. The new store will be close to Tiffany and Hermès in a rapidly changing district.

It’s part of the company’s plan to reinvent and grow, following a rebrand and a new streamlined logo unveiled earlier this year as it attempts to right the financial ship after years of losses exacerbated by COVID-19. The private company does not release financial reports, but Bellaiche revealed that sales in the first five months of its fiscal year, which begins in April, were up 50% from 2021 and down just 10%. compared to 2019, mainly due to the loss of Chinese tourists and large group shopping tours.

Americans, Britons and South Koreans are slowly making up for lost attendance as tourism spending rose 40% from 2019 in August.

He also cited double-digit growth in sales to local residents and e-commerce. The company expects to return to full-year profitability in the 2023-24 fiscal year, he said.

Bellaiche said the high numbers indicate a return to retail power. “We see that’s a very positive message for retailers that yes, expectations have changed. The bar is much higher than before…but that’s no substitute for human contact,” he said of customer expectations of an in-person experience competing with e-commerce. “We truly believe in the power of retail. Because in a way we are back on the attack, we are back to our ambition.

The group intends to open between five and ten stores outside France over the next decade, seeking to establish “anchor” stores in key regions, with each store achieving profitability.

The group had revealed expansion plans in 2019 with the intention of doubling sales to around $4 billion by 2030. Belliache, who took over as CEO in 2020, said those numbers had been reduced as retail recovered from pandemic shutdowns.

“The goal is not to overtake [growth] at this stage. The goal is to return to healthy growth,” he said. The current objective is to achieve 2 billion euros in turnover within three to four years.

Groupe Printemps was acquired in 2015 by Divine Investments SA, the Luxembourg investment fund backed by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the former Emir of Qatar.

Printemps has 16 department stores throughout France.