The "Azzedine Alaïa, Another Way to Look at Fashion: The Tati Collection" showcases looks from Alaïa's spring 1991 collection and artworks featuring the designs.

PARIS — The most popular of Paris retail institutions, Tati, is closing its historic store on Boulevard Barbès, citing the strikes that hit Paris last December and the COVID-19 crisis as the reasons behind its demise.

Created in 1948, the discount retailer famous for its pink and white checked banner was a magnet for bargain hunters for decades, and notably inspired Azzedine Alaïa for his spring 1991 collection. That collection was the subject of an exhibition at the Azzedine Alaïa Association last year.

“Tati has not seen customers come back to its historic home in Barbès,” stated Thierry Boukhari, the retailer’s chief operating officer. “The Barbès store has been doubly impacted by the strikes of last December and the sanitary crisis. It has seen a 60 percent decline in sales between Oct. 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020, compared with the prior-year period.”

Tati — which started expanding to become a national chain in 1978 — has been struggling for years. It last changed hands in 2017, when it was bought by GPG, which owns other discount retailers including GiFi and Besson. The new owner injected 150 million euros — twice its initial investment plan — into the chain with the aim of turning it around.

In the announcement of the closure of the Barbès store, for which a date was not revealed, Tati said it will sell 18 other stores to discount chain KLO. That company was founded by former Tati management late last year and involved the acquisition of 29 units. Of Tati’s five remaining stores, one will be bought by a footwear retailer, and the other four — including the Barbès flagship — will close. Tati Mariage and Tati Destockage stores at Barbès will continue operating.

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