PARIS — Galeries Lafayette is poised to launch an immense wellness department this summer.
The space — home to products, services, a gym and a restaurant — will be situated on the minus-one floor of the department store’s main building on Boulevard Haussmann and open in mid-July.
Galeries Lafayette has been carrying out widespread renovations over the past 18 months, throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
“We continued to improve customer journeys with the creation of a third set of escalators,” said Alexandre Liot, general manager of Galeries Lafayette Haussmann. “We renovated our historic cupola, which had not been redone since its creation.”
Other initiatives included opening (Re)Store, devoted to circular and second-hand fashion in the womenswear department.
“And then, we took the time to see what the consumer trends were and — above all — their expectations,” said Liot. “We realized our customers didn’t just want to buy goods, but they also wanted to do good for themselves. That’s what guided us on this project.
“The [post-COVID-19] department store strikes back, with everything — innovation, expectation, exclusivity — under the same roof, which is its historic strength,” he continued.
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Liot said Galeries Lafayette has always had a robust “traditional” beauty business.
“In looking at the market’s evolution — notably in the United States, which is still very much in advance in terms of well-being, and also Japan — we said to ourselves ‘the beauty of tomorrow’ is no longer just about selling products, but also about doing yourself good,” he said.
Further, consumers today are expecting differentiation and innovation from physical stores.
Galeries Lafayette’s minus-one floor, among the most frequented, was formerly the shoe department, which was relocated to the fourth floor. That meant 32,290 square feet of space became available.
“We really wanted to create and be the reference for well-being and wellness in Paris — and even in Europe,” said Liot, who maintains nothing of this kind exists anywhere else there. “We chose the best in their areas of expertise present on [French] territory, or totally exclusive concepts not yet in France.
“We balanced the two,” he teased, without naming names of the specific brands chosen. “We will have all of the products that correspond to well-being — dietary supplements, creams, hair products. It will really be the temple of well-being.”
Treatment rooms are to offer the likes of massage and alternative medicine. The gym, hosting fitness classes, will be open before and after store hours.
Athleisure is to be sold on this floor, too, and there will be a restaurant serving food conceived with well-being in mind. (Also on the culinary front, Galeries Lafayette, in its Maison et Gourmet building, will add a supplementary floor dedicated to restaurants in September.)
“For this space there are codes totally different from those of the department store, from what one is used to seeing on the other floors,” the executive said of the well-being department.
The wellness market has enormous potential, having doubled in size globally over the past four years, according to the Global Wellness Report. Yet the category remains highly segmented and accessible to only a small number of people in France.
“The spirit of Galeries Lafayette is it’s everyone’s department store, and we really want this universe to be accessible to everyone,” said Liot, adding massages and other treatments will be available for 45 euros to 400 euros. “So it really democratizes access to well-being.
“We always try to be one step ahead of our environment and also of our competitors,” he said. “It is also important for us to continue putting into practice our philosophy — namely, that customers and visitors need experiences, and constantly renewed experiences. It’s a leitmotif we’ve had for a very long time.”
Liot cited the department store’s historic slogan: “Something is always happening at Galeries Lafayette.”
“We continue to live that today, with this project,” he said.
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