Galeries Lafayette is giving China another go after its initial foray 15 years ago.
Over the years, the French department store has seen a rise in Chinese customers. Half of its sales are from Asian customers and the Chinese account for its largest group of shoppers.
Galeries Lafayette now has opened a flagship store in Beijing. Located on Xidan walking street, the new store has six floors that cover 47,000 square meters – about half the size of its Paris store – and 10 Chinese and French restaurants. The Beijing flagship hopes to attract not just luxury consumers in China, but the growing middle class.
Galeries Lafayette will feature more than 500 brands, 200 of which are being sold in China for the first time. In addition, Galeries Lafayette has collaborated with Chinese designer Simon Gao on a limited edition collection for the Beijing store. It is the first collaboration between the French department store and a Chinese designer.
Simon Gao is a rising star in China’s fashion world. According to the art publication, Blouin, “His first 2012 show, including men’s ready-to-wear, women’s ready-to-wear, and haute couture, made him famous overnight. In 2013, his women’s haute couture was a success at Paris Fashion Week, representing a significant step in Gao’s design career. Gao tends to add modern Western elements and tailoring to a foundation of Eastern style.”
Some analysts are wary about Galeries Lafayette’s success in China. Given the high rate of luxury taxes on the mainland, they don’t believe the Beijing store will hold the same attraction as the Paris store.
photo credit: simon gao