PARIS — French department store Galeries Lafayette will shut its youth-oriented streetwear concept Version Originale in February.

This story first appeared in the November 13, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

VO, as it is also known, opened in the basement of the chain’s Haussmann flagship in 2004. The department will be replaced by a space for shoes. Some of VO’s brands, which included women’s and men’s streetwear, denim, shoes and lingerie targeting 12- to 20-year-olds, will be discontinued. The denim selection will be relocated to the fourth floor, a level above women’s wear.

Carrying women’s and men’s denim together didn’t work, said Pascal Camart, women’s wear buyer for Galeries Lafayette. Though the majority of the women’s denim offering had been placed in VO in a bid to drive traffic, shoppers more than 30 years old were reluctant to visit the space, which was seen as something of a teen hangout.

“It meant women aged above 30 and 40 couldn’t find any jeans in Galeries Lafayette,” Camart said.

When it surveyed younger customers, the retailer found the male clientele was largely satisfied with VO’s offer, but young women wanted more contemporary brands such as Comptoir des Cotonniers and Zadig & Voltaire.

“They want to be ladies and not follow young trends,” Camart said.

The new women’s denim space will be adjacent to a vintage clothing section. It will offer brands that include Guess, Diesel, Pepe Jeans and Le Temps des Cerises.

“The important thing is to have a lot of brands with their own identity,” Camart said. “When our customer comes into Galeries Lafayette, they are looking for brands.”

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