REVAMP PROJECT: Printemps will turn over a quarter of the space in its five-floor store on the eastern side of the French capital to its sports and streetwear retailer Citadium, Japanese brand Uniqlo and home decoration chain Maisons du Monde, following a year-long refurbishment program.
It will be the first time Uniqlo has set up in a department store, said Printemps executives.
The upscale department store chain launched the broad restructure of its Nation branch last year after Agnès Girard, who has managed the store for nearly a decade, conducted a surveyed with customers.
“For around 10 days, before launching the renovation project, we approached customers, asked them if they were regular clients and for how long, what parts of the store they visited, what were their favorite brands and what they expected from these brands,” noted Girard, referring to herself and a deputy executive.
They then called in their top clients for a series of roundtable discussions, gathering more details about what they liked and what they expected from the store. With this information, the buyers were able to build up the offer, bulking up different price levels, from very accessible to higher-end ranges.
Anchored in its local neighborhood, the opposite side of the city from the Boulevard Haussmann flagship store, the branch is geared to different generations, including a good proportion of university students, said Girard.
“In this store we know our clients very well. When we see them on a Saturday in the store, they come up to us,” added the store’s new director, Julien Varin, who is taking over from Girard.
“It’s very easy to strike up a conversation with clients so that’s how we know their expectations.”
Uniqlo, with its category of products including basics as well as the “ultra-fashionable” products, will fit the local client demand, added Girard.
Offering a broader selection of lower-priced objects is part of “an evolution that makes sense in this store — it might not for all of our stores but here it makes sense,” said Girard, lifting a wine glass priced at 8.99 euros from a table set with plates, silverware and ceramic flowers in olive green hues. The section also sells curtains, mirrors and lamps.
On the top floor, dedicated to Citadium, women’s sneakers in pale pastel hues line a wood-paneled wall, and a large window in the men’s section affords a view of the Eiffel Tower. The floor is scheduled to open to the public on Saturday and the Uniqlo section will open in November.