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BHV Reveals Revamped Beauty Floor

The retailer is expanding space and adding brands including Guerlain and Creme de la Mer in what it claims is the widest beauty offer in the Marais district.

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PARIS — BHV Rivoli is revamping and expanding its beauty department as the latest stage in the department store’s two-year, multimillion euro renovation.

The store is expanding the space to span 10,700 square feet on the ground floor, from 7,500 previously, adding an array of new brands and services including a Clarins treatment room, Kure Bazaar nail bar and the Parfums d’Exception space for niche fragrances.

“It’s going to be the biggest perfumery in the Marais,” said Alexandre Liot, who was named director of BHV in February after 16 years in various posts within Groupe Galeries Lafayette, which owns BHV.

The store’s location, on the edge of the trendy Marais district, is a key part of the renovation. “It is designed to be the continuation of a walk through the Marais, where customers can wander and discover products,” he said. “We want the store to be integrated into the quarter, with the codes of the Marais. It is the store for Parisians.”

The revamp is part of an ongoing overhaul of the institution — the only department store in the East of Paris since La Samaritaine closed in 2005 — following the unveiling of its shoe department in October.

Scaffolding that currently covers the front of the store is expected to be removed by April, and it will be renamed BHV Marais in September.

Deciding how to overhaul the institution, best known for having the biggest selection of home wares and DIY goods in Paris and with a faithful following in the capital, was the subject of round-table discussions with customers, Liot said, as it was important for the operator to take into account the wishes of the clientele.

The result was to make the store more hip, in keeping with the Marais, a theme that will be carried throughout as the renovation continues.

“We should be able to have a good feel of what the new BHV will be like by the end of this year,” Liot said.

The new beauty department, which should be completed in time for an inaugural event on May 22 that will be open to all, reveals original features like exposed cast-iron pillars.

The aisles are wider, giving more space, with a pale marble floor bordered with a patterned frieze to accentuate the feeling of wandering through the department like a neighborhood, while elements of walls and storage are adorned in stone blocks, pale wood or tiles similar to those of the Paris Metro.

Behind the department’s main cash register, a backlit wall built of white and pink jars reminiscent of beauty creams spells out the word “Caisse” (“cashier” in English) in giant capitals.

Of the 100 brands on offer, many are new, including spaces for Guerlain and Crème de la Mer, which with its launch there opens its fifth door in the French capital and its first in the Marais.

With the Clarins treatment cabin — which features a padded leather bed, walk-in shower and overhead lighting designed to look like a cloudy blue sky and the store’s first nail bar — BHV is also entering beauty services for the first time. A makeup artist is on hand to offer tips and makeovers.

Kiehl’s and Aesop will be added in skin care and Essie in nail color. A natural and organic section will feature products from Erborian, Korres and Absolution.

As well as a conventional perfumery offer, the store will feature high-end lines including La Collection Privée Christian Dior, Les Exclusifs de Chanel and Guerlain’s Les Collections Exclusifs de Parfumeur. The Parfums d’Exception space, meanwhile, will carry niche lines like Serge Lutens, Annick Goutal, L’Artisan Parfumeur and Acqua di Parma.

Liot said he is more than happy with results since certain elements of the floor’s revamp were unveiled in February, although work is continuing and many stands do not yet have their final furnishings.

“Our objective is to increase beauty sales by 10 percent in 2013,” he revealed. “Given the encouraging results so far, that is a realistic estimate despite the economic climate.”

He declined to elaborate further, but according to industry sources, beauty represents approximately 8 percent of BHV Rivoli’s sales, which were approximately 392 million euros in 2010, or $514.9 million at average exchange for the period, the last for which data was available.

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