Paolo de Cesare

PARIS — Printemps is going international.

The department store is expanding overseas as part of an omnichannel strategy aimed at doubling the size of its business over the next decade, the chain’s chief executive officer Paolo de Cesare said on Wednesday.

The Qatari-owned retailer will open its first department store outside of France, in Doha in 2021, as part of the multibillion-dollar Doha Oasis project, which includes a hotel, theme park, residences and a cinema.

It also plans to unveil a smaller store in the center of Milan by early 2021, as part of a planned expansion to open five to 10 new units worldwide in the next 10 years in “exceptional” locations.

In addition, Printemps said it was acquiring online homeware retailer Made in Design from investment company Gimv and founder Catherine Colin as part on a broader omnichannel push that will culminate in the launch early next year of its printemps.com luxury platform.

“Our vision for the next decade and what we are preparing to do is to become a leading global omnichannel luxury and lifestyle player,” de Cesare told reporters. “It is a major evolution compared to what we achieved and built over the last decade. We are adding a global dimension to our business, and we are adding an omnichannel dimension to our business.”

Printemps is following in the footsteps of rival Galeries Lafayette, which plans to increase its overseas network to 25 stores by 2025. Already present in Berlin, Beijing, Jakarta, Dubai, Istanbul, Doha and Shanghai, Galeries Lafayette’s pipeline includes openings in Milan, Luxembourg and Kuwait.

De Cesare said Printemps was also open to working with regional partners, but would retain control over the management of the stores and product assortment.

“We will add flagships around the world that can help us build the awareness and the business outside of France,” he said. “We believe [this strategy] has the potential to double the business in the next decade.”

The three-story Doha unit will span 30,000 square meters, or 323,000 square feet, making it the second-largest store in the Printemps network after its Paris flagship on Boulevard Haussmann, he said.

The Milan unit — close to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and rival department store La Rinascente — will cover 2,000 to 2,500 square meters, comparable to the Printemps store next to the Louvre museum. “We are looking for iconic locations that have the traffic potential of a Louvre in some of the key cities,” de Cesare said.

Printemps’ expansion push comes as tourist traffic in Paris has dwindled in the wake of the weekly yellow-vest antigovernment protests, which started in November and continue to hamper trading on Saturdays, with sporadic outbreaks of violence across France.

“Unfortunately — and we know it from our brands — a lot of the customers who used to come to Paris to shop are now going to London or Milan, because they feel that for a weekend of shopping or a week of shopping, it’s a better place than Paris,” the executive said.

Revenues at Printemps increased 3 percent to 1.7 billion euros in the financial year ended March 31. Without the demonstrations, de Cesare estimated sales would have risen by 6 percent.

The retailer is targeting revenues of 3.5 billion euros by 2030, of which it hopes 20 to 25 percent will be generated by online sales. The printemps.com site is expected to launch early next year with 150 brands. Made in Design, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, sells online in 90 countries worldwide.

“This union is based on a common vision of the market, but also on a common ambition, which is powerful since the aim is to double our revenues within five years,” Colin said. De Cesare added that the acquisition would grow its homewares division, which accounts for 5 to 6 percent of total revenues, by 60 percent.

Printemps is close to completing a cycle of renovations at the Haussmann store with the revamp of the second and fifth floors of the women’s department. De Cesare estimated the retailer has invested 700 million euros over the last 10 years, and said planned spending in the next decade would be “much, much more than that.”

It’s part of a plan set in motion following the acquisition of the store in 2013 by Divine Investments SA, a Luxembourg-based investment fund backed by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the former emir of Qatar, whose other properties include London department store Harrods and Italian fashion label Valentino.

Printemps is adding to its roster of partnerships by joining forces with French beauty brand Aroma-Zone, known for its customizable natural cosmetics. The first Aroma-Zone corners inside Printemps stores will open in Metz in June, to be followed by Strasbourg and Lille in September.

In addition, it is linking with French sporting goods retailer Au Vieux Campeur for a new department dedicated to outdoor fashion on the fourth floor of its Printemps de l’Homme men’s store.

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