PARIS – The Avenue Montaigne, home to luxury purveyors from Dior and Prada to Harry Winston and Celine, is welcoming a handful of new stores.
Chloé early last month opened a 2,000-square-foot boutique on the tony shopping strip that was followed by Montaigne Market, a 4,000-square-foot fashion emporium with brands from Marc Jacobs to Miu Miu. Jimmy Choo opened its first store in France on the street in November.
Future neighbors will include new stores this spring from Chrome Hearts and Bonpoint, the chic children’s clothier. And Dolce & Gabbana will move its store, currently in a building owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, down the street. Fendi is expected to take Dolce & Gabbana’s old spot.
Alain Celhay, who owns Montaigne Market with Liliane Jossua, said he expects to have first-year sales of 5 million to 7 million euros, or $5.9 million to $8.3 million at current exchange, boosted by a jet-setting clientele he caters to in shops he already runs in Monaco and Saint Barts.
“Generally, business in France isn’t so hot – across most of Europe, even – but the luxury market is doing better than the rest,” said Celhay.
With oak-paneled walls and floors, Montaigne Market is warm and inviting, with bright lighting and a single display window that shows off a deep corridor-like perspective to the back of the shop. There is modernity in the details – recessed ceilings and sleek, geometrical display racks and tables.
Austrian architect Johannes Zingerle, who has worked with Peter Marino, designed the store, which carries such fashion and accessory brands as Chloé, Miu Miu, Azzedine Alaïa, Zac Posen, Givenchy and Matthew Williamson. These are merchandised with T-shirts from the likes of James Perse, jeans from True Religion, cashmere sweaters from Lucien Pellat-Finet and items from Juicy Couture.
“My clients mix and match,” said Celhay. “I wanted the merchandising to reflect this philosophy, to mix high fashion with jeans and a T-shirt.”
Celhay has some standout pieces as well. He sells 40,000 euro ($47,200) diamond-encrusted watches from Jacob & Co. and customized Rolexes by John Isaac. He and his partner plan to inaugurate the store with a fete during the Paris couture season this month.
Sources expect Chloé to generate 7 million euros, or $8.3 million, in first-year sales. The store, based on a concept already unveiled in London, with a bronze horse sculpture on the entrance door, plywood walls and oversize concert speakers, is located in the old Revillon shop. To give it a personal touch, Chloé added a handful of art pieces, including works by Gary Hume and photographs by James Nares. The shop is Chloé’s third in Paris and is part of the brand’s ongoing retail expansion.
Chloé opened shops in Kuwait; Costa Mesa, Calif.; Beijing, and Shanghai this year. This month, the Richemont-owned brand is scheduled to open a new flagship in Tokyo, in the heart of the Aoyama district.
The volley of novelty on the Avenue Montaigne points to a resurgent Paris retail market, after several sleepy seasons beset by declines in tourism, consumer malaise and generally weak apparel sales. Luxury firms have reported recent gains in business in France, and tourism is on the rise here – promising signs in an otherwise lukewarm retail market.
Sixteen percent more Americans visited France in September than in that month last year, according to the most recent figures from France’s Ministry of Tourism. Asian tourism, especially from Japan, also rose.
At the same time, occupancy rates at four- and five-star luxury hotels improved almost 4 percent. Such indicators give shop owners reason to believe new stores will do well even if business remains difficult in France. Sales of clothing are down 4 percent for the 12-month period through October, according to Institut Français de la Mode.
And Avenue Montaigne isn’t the only Parisian street welcoming new tenants. L’Eclaireur, known for its cutting-edge assortment of brands, broke ground in November on a sprawling store – with a restaurant – just off the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Owner Armand Adida said he plans to open early this year. On the Champs-Elysées, Richemont-owned accessories house Lancel just opened a grand flagship, as did Nike, whose unit covers 10,000 square feet.
Elsewhere, smaller shops are percolating. Shoemaker Michel Vivien – who designed Lanvin’s spring shoe collection – opened a boutique on the Rue Molière, near the Palais Royale, where Marc Jacobs is getting ready to unveil his first Paris store.
In the Marais, Shine, an artsy store carrying fashion from brands like Marc Jacobs and True Religion, recently opened on the Rue de Poitou.