Retail in Asia


Galeries Lafayette opens in Chongqing

French department store chain Galeries Lafayette aims to open its first boutique concept shop in Chongqing in December, tapping into the expanding southwest Chinese market.

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Chongqing 100 Mall, which is located in the International Land-Sea Center and is scheduled to become the city’s tallest building, has inked a lease with the corporation. The Chongqing location of the French department store operator will be 48,438 square feet.

According to the company, this will be “a differentiated Galeries Lafayette project complementary to the targeted accessible brand mix” that will appeal to the target demographic. The store will offer “brands entering the Chongqing market for the first time.”

The French company has its sights set on Guiyang, a third-tier city south of Chongqing, where it planned to construct a considerably larger store at the D. Place shopping mall. In the spring of 2021, the store was expected to open.

Vanke, the Chinese real estate conglomerate behind the 458-meter-high tower, aims to develop a city renewal plan around it. The project, which includes a shopping mall, office space, and the world’s highest Banyan Tree Hotel, is located in a riverbank neighbourhood among tourist attractions. To raise its reputation, Chongqing 100 Mall added tenants such as Tsutaya Books, a well-known Japanese bookstore, and BLT, a high-end supermarket.

“With Galeries Lafayette on board, luxury and high-end fashion brands will follow suit,” said Bin Du of real estate management firm HanBroad. “How the project turns out depends on who’s their retail operator. If they have enough fashion experience.”

Galeries Lafayette first opened its doors in China in 2013, and it now has two locations in Shanghai and one in Beijing, both in collaboration with Hong Kong fashion retailer I.T. Last December, the company negotiated a lease to open in Shenzhen’s UpperHills, an up-and-coming neighbourhood. Early in 2023, that store will open.

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“In the midst of a turbulent health crisis, we have taken the time to deepen our understanding of the market and identify the most appropriate cities in which to deploy our brand for the long term,” said Philippe Pedone, head of international development at Galeries Lafayette at the time of the announcement. The retailer is set to have a dozen stores in China by 2025.