PARIS — French property company Catinvest plans to expand into outlet shopping with the fall opening of what it is billing as France’s biggest fashion outlet mall.
Due to bow Nov. 20, One Nation Paris is located 30 minutes by car west of the French capital near the Château de Versailles. It is to feature 112 stores over 260,000 square feet and aims to attract 5 million visitors a year.
Philippe Catteau, chief executive officer of family-owned Catinvest, said the project represented an investment of 107 million euros, or $140 million at current exchange. One Nation Paris is gunning to log revenues of more than 270 million euros, or $353 million, within five years, he added.
“Our objective for One Nation Paris is quite simply to make it, once it reaches maturity, the most efficient outlet in France, with the highest revenues per square meter in the business at the European level,” Catteau told a news conference Thursday.
“That might appear ambitious or pretentious, but given the natural assets of our location, it is a target that is within reach, provided we do our job as operators,” he added.
Catteau noted the outlet is located in a prime catchment area. There are 11 million people within an hour’s drive, with average disposable income per capita of 45,470 euros, or $58,175, a year — the highest in France and more than double the national average, he said.
Catinvest specializes in retail and residential property, with a commercial portfolio of around 6.5 million square feet in France, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.
A newcomer to the outlet sector, it is going up against Value Retail, which operates nine outlet villages worldwide under its Chic Outlet Shopping concept. These include La Vallée Village, close to Disneyland Paris east of the French capital, which features brands including Céline, Burberry and Givenchy.
Catinvest did not disclose which brands will be carried at One Nation Paris, but said 95 percent of the offer would be clothing and accessories, with discounts running up to 70 percent during sales periods.
In order to differentiate itself from the village concept, One Nation Paris is organized as a two-story mall with a glass roof. The ground floor features sports and lifestyle brands, with luxury brands grouped on the first floor.
The interior design by the Malherbe Design agency is a contemporary reinterpretation of elements culled from Versailles, with floor tiles laid out in the same pattern as the château’s parquet floors, and hedge designs in the rest areas that reference the gardens created by 17th-century landscape architect André Le Nôtre.
“It is very sober, and I think that is really key to revealing the elegance and the quality of the different retailers there,” said interior designer Hubert de Malherbe.
The mall will also feature a central meeting point inspired by the Place de l’Etoile in Paris, with alleys named after the roads that converge there, including the famed Avenue des Champs-Elysées.
Bertrand Catteau, managing director of Catinvest, said One Nation Paris will have 26,000 square feet dedicated to cafés and restaurants, including a patisserie operated by celebrity baker Gontran Cherrier. Additional services include a hair salon, nail bar, massage center, concierge and personal shopper.
“The idea, which has never been done before, is to bring to the outlet a level of service close to what you would find in a department store, and more specifically a Paris department store,” he said.
Catinvest has hired Bettina Dablemont, former director of the nearby Parly 2 branch of French department store chain Printemps, to run One Nation Paris.
The outlet will be reachable by car and public transport, with trains leaving from Gare Montparnasse in Paris roughly every half-hour and a free shuttle service from the local train station to the mall.
A One Nation Shopping Express bus will leave from the Opera district of Paris twice a day, and Catinvest is working with tour operators catering to clients from countries including China. If successful, it plans to expand the One Nation concept to other major cities in France.
“We have identified the outlet as a strategic growth area,” said Philippe Catteau, noting that designer outlets were relatively rare in France due to the country’s administrative hurdles.