ADIDAS FINDS NEW HOME IN PARIS
Byline: Robert Murphy
PARIS — Adidas is digging its cleats into the Rue de Rivoli.
The German activewear firm today throws open the doors to a 14,000-square-foot megastore on the central Right Bank shopping thoroughfare here. The three-story unit replaces Adidas’s 15-year-old Paris store, just a pole vault away on the Rue du Louvre.
“This location might only be around the corner, but it will make a world of difference,” said Frederic Seiller, retail development manager for Adidas France. “There are about 12 million passersby each year on Rivoli, while only about 1.2 million on the Rue du Louvre.
Seiller declined to provide sales projections, but he stressed that the firm expects the store to spawn a significant sales increase.
“Certainly this store is designed to increase our image in France,” he said. “But, even more importantly, it is meant to generate higher sales and to be profitable.”
Seiller said the store will play a fundamental role in the development of the brand and serve as a laboratory for Adidas to test new products before they are distributed to other activewear retailers.
Adidas runs four other stores around the world, including an 8,000-square-foot unit in Seattle opened nine months ago. The others are in Santa Monica, Calif., Portland, Ore., and Boston. In April, the firm will inaugurate an 8,000-square-foot store in Amsterdam. Although Seiller said the new stores underscore Adidas’s desire to deepen its retail network, he added that the firm does not plan a massive rollout.
“Over the next five years, we want to open a few more stores, but we’re not out to conquer the world,” he said.
The Rivoli store, jointly designed by German firm Schwitzke & Partners and France’s Architecture & Environnement, features translucent Plexiglas shelving units, brushed aluminum fixtures and unfinished ceilings that reveal electrical wiring. It also has graphic sports photos, some plastered on fitting room doors, with a green, orange and blue color scheme.
The store is opening at a time when the down-at-the-heels Rue de Rivoli is enjoying a retail renaissance. Within the last few years, the street has witnessed the arrival of several international retailers, including Gap, Hennes & Mauritz and Zara. Next month, Dutch fast-fashion firm We and French lingerie company Etam are also scheduled to open new flagships on the street.
Meanwhile, late last year, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton acquired a controlling stake in the landmark department store Samaritaine, a block away from the new Adidas outpost. Although LVMH has yet to unveil its plans for the store, it is expected that a revamped Samaritaine will attract new shoppers to the neighborhood.
“The street is on the upswing,” said Seiller. “It has been greatly revitalized by the arrival of megastores. People are again shopping on Rivoli.”
According to real estate sources here, rents on the street have increased about 20 percent over the last couple of years, to level off between about $215 and $330 per square foot.
Seiller said the new unit allows Adidas to expose a greater amount of its product offering. For example, on the 4,500-square-foot first floor, largely dedicated to men’s and women’s footwear, more than 500 shoe models are on display. Adidas carried about 175 styles in its old store.
Women’s and men’s fitness, running and swim apparel are featured in the 7,000-square-foot basement. Golf, tennis and ski apparel and equipment are merchandised on the 2,500-square-foot second level.
“We wanted to create an interactive feeling in the store,” said Seiller. “It is meant to create an engaging atmosphere that makes shoppers want to stay and discover the Adidas universe.”
For example, the store features computer consoles with Internet access to the Adidas homepage and video screens playing Adidas-sponsored sporting events. The store also boasts CD listening posts, video game stations and dark, cave-like escalators with video projections of sports scenes on the walls.
Currently, Seiller said the stock is about 60 percent men’s, 30 percent women’s, with the rest dedicated to children’s wear.
“We want to increase our women’s offerings,” he said. “The majority of activewear clients remain men, but we feel that women are buying these products more and more.”