WWD.com/retail-news/retail-features/hm-gets-ok-for-champs-elysee-unit-1802911/
government-trade
government-trade

H&M Gets OK for Champs Elysee Unit

Fast fashion retailer wins zoning battle.

PARIS — Swedish fast-fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz has finally won a Champs-Elysées address, ending its two-year battle with French authorities.

On Wednesday, France’s Conseil d’Etat (Council of State) quashed an appeal by the Paris mayor’s office, which tried to overturn a French commission’s decision to allow H&M to open an outlet on France’s famed avenue. The mayor’s office had argued that yet another large-scale fashion store would damage the street’s prestige.

The Conseil said it found no legal reason why H&M should not open on the street, which is already home to fast-fashion rivals such as Zara and Mango.

A spokeswoman for H&M, which operates 109 stores across France, said the 28,000-square-foot store, stretching from number 82 to number 90 Champs-Elysées, would open in 2010. H&M also confirmed French architect Jean Nouvel remains on board to design the location, which is within a shopping gallery.

The decision bodes well for other retailers, including Abercrombie & Fitch and Dolce & Gabbana, which have applied for permission to open on the street.

However, the Comité des Champs-Elysées, a nonprofit association that promotes the avenue, said it remains steadfast in its goal to maintain a balance of different sectors and not become just a fashion destination. “If there were only cinemas opening on the Champs, we would be saying the same thing,” said Edouard Lefebvre, general manager of the Comité.

The Champs-Elysées, which draws more than 100 million visitors a year and whose tenants include luxury names such as Cartier and Louis Vuitton and mass-market chains such as Monoprix and McDonalds, is the third most-expensive retail location in the world, after Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and Causeway Bay in Hong Kong.