Galeries Lafayette plans to enter the burgeoning southwest Chinese market with its first boutique concept store in Chongqing this December.
The company signed a lease with Chongqing 100 Mall, located in International Land-Sea Center, which is set to become the city’s tallest building. The French department store operator’s Chongqing store will total 48,438 square feet.
It said this will be “a differentiated Galeries Lafayette project complementary to the targeted accessible brand mix” to fit the consumer profile. According to information published by International Land-Sea Center, the store will feature “brands entering the Chongqing market for the first time.”
The company also confirmed to WWD that “given the delay from Guiyang landlord side, we dropped the Guiyang project.”
The French retailer originally set its eyes on Guiyang, a third-tier city to the south of Chongqing, where it planned on opening a much larger store in a dolphin-shaped shopping mall called D. Place. The store was supposed to open in spring 2021.
Vanke, the Chinese real estate giant behind International Land-Sea Center, plans to create a city renewal plan around the 458-meter-tall skyscraper. Situated in a riverside neighborhood not far from tourist destinations, the project consists of a shopping mall, office space, and the world’s highest Banyan Tree Hotel. Chongqing 100 Mall also signed up tenants such as renowned Japanese bookstore Tsutaya Books, and high-end supermarket BLT to boost its profile.
“With Galeries Lafayette on board, luxury and high-end fashion brands will follow suit,” said Bin Du of real estate management firm HanBroad. “How the project turns out depends on who’s their retail operator. If they have enough fashion experience.” According to Galeries Lafayette, this store will be the first location in China it will directly manage.
Last December, the firm signed a lease to open at UpperHills, an up-and-coming neighborhood in Shenzhen. That store is set to open in early 2023.
“In the midst of a turbulent health crisis, we have taken the time to deepen our understanding of the market and identify the most appropriate cities in which to deploy our brand for the long term,” said Philippe Pedone, head of international development at Galeries Lafayette at the time of the announcement. The retailer aims to have a dozen stores in China by 2025.
Apart from Chongqing and Shenzhen, Galeries Lafayette is also set to launch in Macau later this year at Treasure Island Hotel Macau, a new development anchored to a five-star hotel. The store will take up about 45,000 square feet and Hong Kong-listed Forward Fashion Holdings will be its retail operator in the city.