Galeries Lafayette said it is in exclusive talks to sell the historic BHV Marais department store to Groupe SGM (which stands for Société des Grands Magasins), a family-owned firm specializing in city-center retail.
Galeries Lafayette has owned BHV Marais, famed for the vast DIY department in the basement and its selection of items for the home, since 1991. It plans to sell the real estate and business assets.
Over the past decade, Galeries has revamped the BHV’s main floors, and expanded beyond its main walls to establish a Paris branch of Italian food emporium Eataly next door, and Lafayette Anticipations, an art foundation only a stone’s throw away.
The store marked its 160th anniversary in 2016 and has become a cool destination thanks to a savvy mix of fashion, decor items, beauty and eateries.
In a statement Thursday, Galeries Lafayette said it knows Groupe SGM well and shares “the same vision of the role that department stores should play in city centers.”
It also noted that it has “built a trusting relationship since seven stores in Galeries Lafayette’s French network were affiliated to Groupe SGM in 2021 (in Angers, Dijon, Grenoble, Le Mans, Limoges, Orléans and Reims).”
Groupe SGM wishes to take BHV “to the next stage in its development alongside its teams, while protecting jobs,” it added.
Meanwhile, Galeries Lafayette wishes to “focus its efforts and available resources on its eponymous brand” and “rebuild its cash flow in the wake of the fierce blow from the COVID-19 crisis.”
Its priorities include reinventing its Boulevard Haussmann flagship and its 17 flagships across France; becoming fully omnichannel and data-oriented, and growing selectively in such international markets as China, India and the Middle East.
Galeries Lafayette said it would continue to operate Eataly Paris Marais and the Lafayette Anticipations foundation. It hopes to complete the sale of the BHV Marais this year.
Groupe SGM operates 17 shopping malls in France.
“The step we are considering today, with the plan to sell BHV Marais, should enable us to fast-track our strategy, focus all our efforts on realizing our ambitions and free up additional resources to do so sooner, while finally putting an end to COVID-19’s impact on our business,” commented Nicolas Houzé, chief executive officer of Galeries Lafayette and BHV Marais. “We are certain that BHV Marais will be in good hands to write a new chapter of its story in the heart of France’s capital.”