PARIS — The Parisian department store BHV Marais inaugurated a refurbished store in a shopping mall outside of the French capital, lending more space to fashion following a two-year, 24 million euro revamp.
Spread across three floors and serving as an anchor to the Parly 2 shopping center near Versailles, the store mixes home decor and hardware with a larger proportion of apparel than it had in the past.
Since 1969 the store has served as one of the anchors to the shopping center, also established that year. The center’s owner, Unibail-Rodamco, showcased a new wing of the mall, which links the BHV store to other sections. The new wing features wood flooring and wide shops entrances, inspired by a “Sixties chic” theme, recalling the center’s history as an introduction to the American way of life to France, explained Anne-Sophie Sancerre, who directs the real estate developer’s French shopping center business.
Traditionally at BHV, which sprang up in the center of Paris 160 years ago to serve city-dwellers looking for household goods, the proportion of homeware has hovered at around 70 percent, explained Olivier Bron, Galeries Lafayette, BHV Marais and international director. That figure has now shifted to 55 percent home equipment and 45 percent fashion, the director said, pointing to spaces dedicated to brands like La Fée Maraboutée.
The mix comes amid broad restructuring across the retail industry, as brands and retailers stretch outside of their traditional realms to broaden their appeal amid stiff competition from online businesses.
On the ground level of the store, bedding and bathroom furnishings give way to mattresses, lined up at the back. Welcoming visitors at the entrance is a new space, set up living room style, dedicated to the online home decor brand AM.PM. The brand was recently acquired by BHV owner Galeries Lafayette as part of its purchase of the online retailer La Redoute.
“The particularity of this store is that it’s almost like a grocery store, we have a visitor traffic that’s pretty incredible,” said Alexandre Liot, who has directed BHV for five years.
On the middle floor, a section of lamps and light bulbs is tucked in the store’s center, next to the escalator banks. Up a floor, a Starbucks café space overlooks a wall of sneakers; a broad paint selection, the picture framing services and sink hardware come afterward. A special ramp just outside the third floor leads shoppers and their carts to rooftop parking spaces.
In addition to its Rue de Rivoli flagship and the Parly 2 branch, BHV has two other stores in France, two in Beirut and one in Dubai.