PARIS — Pushing further into China, Galeries Lafayette said Thursday it has signed a lease for a third store in the country, due to open in 2022, adding to the clamor of fashion industry players pursuing Chinese consumers on their home turf.
The store is slated for the Nanming neighborhood of the inland city of Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou Province.
While Galeries Lafayette embarked on a strategy of international expansion several years ago, the coronavirus crisis has added urgency to its quest to bulk up sales outside of its home market. Consumption continues to suffer in Europe amid coronavirus restrictions, but Chinese shoppers are springing back into action, prompting a rush of apparel brands across the spectrum to serve them domestically.
The new store will be located in the D. Place shopping mall, which is owned by HLC Commercial Real Estates Group. The French department store has locations in Beijing and Shanghai.
“This third store will allow us to offer the inhabitants of Guiyang our know-how in fashion and French lifestyle,” said Philippe Pedone, who directs international development activities at Galeries Lafayette.
The group lauded the expansion of Guizhou Province and efforts by local officials to brand the region as “cool Guiyang, shopping paradise.”
Expanding into international markets is not an obvious move for department stores, which are traditionally anchored to a local clientele, making it difficult to roll out the same mix of brands in different geographic areas, but executives at Galeries Lafayette, have said they have found a model to take abroad.
The group has built up a reputation with international travelers visiting the French capital, and is focusing on markets where consumers know the name. It is also relying on local partners like Ali Bin Ali, a family-owned group that runs the Doha store under franchise, and the Turkish retailer DEMSA group in Turkey. The group’s store in Shanghai is a joint venture with I.T Limited.