PARIS — Galeries Lafayette continued its push into new territory, opening a store this week in a freshly built mall in Marseille, France.
While flagging traffic in shopping centers around the world has prompted a wave of cross-border consolidation among mall owners, the family-owned department chain is expanding abroad to China and the Middle East, as well as in certain locations on its home turf.
The new 100,000-square-foot store stretches over four floors and serves as the anchor to the modern, glass-covered Prado shopping center. It is the second Galeries Lafayette store in the city for the retailer, which recently sold nearly half of its domestic stores to be operated under its name through a franchise agreement.
“The Galeries Lafayette Marseille Prado store perfectly matches our ambition to make our stores living spaces, genuine homes in which our clients are our guests and in which we offer them the best of our fashion know-how,” said Olivier Bron, operations director for the group.
Owned by French real estate company Klépierre, the mall is a rare example of new construction from a company that usually focuses on refurbishing existing commercial centers.
The center sits near an affluent section of France’s second largest city, not far from the Orange Vélodrome, France’s second-largest stadium, known to host high-profile soccer and rugby matches, as well as an exhibition center.
In addition to traffic flows generated by sports events, the developer hopes to tap into demand for food in the neighborhood, with a rooftop terrace and a half a dozen restaurants, serving gourmet burgers and homemade bagels. French grocer Auchan will open a specialty food store stocked with local and regional produce. Good quality food offers have become an increasingly important for retailers seeking ways to attract consumers.
The shopping center, which spreads over 250,000 square feet, will also include shops for brands Zara, Pandora and Lacoste, labels that are all currently zeroing in on a more select number of prime locations for their retail outlets. The Zara store will be the region’s largest, at 35,000 square feet.
“It illustrates the full range of our expertise and our vision of the new generation shopping mall,” Klépierre Executive Board Chairman Jean-Marc Jestin said of the mall in a statement. He also lauded the environmental credentials of the site, which does not need air conditioning in the summer or heat in the winter and was built with recycled and recyclable materials.