PARIS — LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton has unveiled plans to reposition La Samaritaine, the behemoth department store on the Right Bank here.
In a news conference on Monday, Samaritaine president Philippe de Beauvoir said he would shift the store’s focus to a younger, more fashion-forward clientele and bring in about 200 new brands, including Vanessa Bruno and Diesel, starting this spring.
Located between the high-traffic Rue de Rivoli and the river Seine, La Samaritaine is a Paris landmark founded in the 19th century and cited in the novels of Emile Zola. But under its previous management, it had aged and its image turned dusty. LVMH acquired the store in January 2001, with a promise to buff it up.
Starting next year, Beauvoir said he plans to launch a renovation project that is expected to cost about $15 million over the next two years. It will update the decor and add practical modern amenities, like air conditioning and escalators.
Beauvoir, who is also president of Le Bon Marche, LVMH’s upscale department store on the Left Bank, said he would reduce the amount of hardware and home goods to about 40 percent from current levels of 60 percent, and accessories and fashion would become more prominent.
This would be similar to the strategy implemented at the Bon Marche, which likewise had grown old before Beauvoir arrived a decade ago. Beauvoir is often cited for turning around its sales and image and attracting an affluent local clientele.
At the 400,000-square-foot Samaritaine, sales are about $180 million, compared to about $260 million at the 320,000-square-foot Bon Marche, said Beauvoir.
Beauvoir said Samaritaine would rent space to fellow LVMH brands Sephora and Kenzo, and to Spanish chain Zara.