PARIS — A worldwide survey by mystery shoppers has confirmed what many visitors to France already know: Paris has an attitude problem — but not as bad as New York’s
The capital’s famed Avenue des Champs-Elysées — home to Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Gap and Tommy Hilfiger — ranked 16th out of 30 prestigious thoroughfares put through their paces in the study by French marketing consultancy Presence. New York’s Fifth Avenue — home to the likes of Bergdorf Goodman, Lord & Taylor, Abercrombie & Fitch, Henri Bendel and numerous luxury stores — did even worse, coming in at number 26.
Some 400 stores, from Amsterdam to Seoul, were rated on four criteria: the appearance of stores, customer service in stores, general atmosphere and the behavior of passersby.
The winner was Singapore’s Orchard Road, followed by Avenue de la Liberté in Luxembourg and Bagdat Avenue in Istanbul. London’s Bond Street ranked 10th.
Despite their reputation as grouches, 80 percent of locals approached on the Champs-Elysées were courteous and helpful, making Paris the third-friendliest city in the ranking after Sydney and Copenhagen.
But the French shopping street ranked a poor 22nd in terms of customer service. In 40 percent of cases, sales staff showed irritation at having to deal with customers.
“I was surprised that locals are so friendly toward tourists, but less so that the level of customer service in stores, conversely, is lagging,” said Leslie Kambourian, account director in charge of fashion and luxury at Presence. “But you do get a sense that certain retailers are making an effort to improve customer service.”