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Coming soon: the biggest luxury store in the world

Coming soon: the biggest luxury store in the world

Wednesday, 04 January 2012
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Christophe Roulet
Editor-in-chief, HH Journal

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The official announcement back in early December sent the world of high-end watches in Paris into a spin. The competition was about to get tough in the City of Light. The Richemont Group, which owns Cartier, had acquired 2,250 sq m (24,000 sq ft) premises on Boulevard des Capucines, next to the Garnier Opera and minutes from the world-renowned Place Vendôme.

The Group is to open the world’s biggest luxury store with the aim of pulling in the droves of Chinese, among others, who currently flock to the nearby Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores. The EUR 600 million (USD 770 million / CHF 730 million) which Chinese visitors to France spend on watches each year makes them a prime target. In Switzerland too, where more than a third of retail sales are made to Chinese customers.

According to French daily Les Echos, Richemont paid EUR 70 million (USD 90 million / CHF 85 million) for the building whose current occupant, the Old England menswear store, is finding the EUR 1.5 million (USD 1.9 million / CHF 1.8 million) annual rent something of a strain.

So as not to create ill-feeling among French distributors, Richemont will appoint Carl F. Bucherer, a specialist in multi-brand watch and jewellery distribution in Switzerland, Austria and Germany, to operate the new store. Hence this future temple of luxury could also propose brands outside the Richemont portfolio. Work on the new store is not expected to be completed before end 2012. Stay tuned…

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