Galeries Lafayette to Shutter Berlin Department Store – WWD

Paris – Galeries Lafayette announced Thursday that it will close its Berlin department store after 28 years in operation.

Attributing the decision to „changing consumption habits in Germany and a significant shift in the city’s retail market,” the company told social partners it would not renew its Friedrichstrasse store when its lease with property owner Tischmann Speyer expires. 2024.

Nicholas House, CEO of the retail company, said the company „no longer believes that Galeries Lafayette is a good fit to operate. [the German] market” because „Berlin has undergone profound change in recent years, affecting the city’s retail environment and leading to the emergence of new players.”

Housed in a glass-fronted building designed by Jean Nouvel, Berlin’s Galeries Lafayette opened in 1996 and was the French company’s first foray outside of France. Located in the city’s central Mitte district, it boasted over 88,000 square feet of retail space spread over four floors and included a food hall.

The store’s 190 employees will be made redundant, with the French retailer committed to working with employee representatives to support those affected by the closures.

Berlin’s planned closure is another step in Galeries Lafayette’s geographic shift as it plans to open 20 stores outside France by 2025, focusing on China, Asia and the Middle East.

It recently unveiled a 48,000 sq ft store in Shenzhen in a joint venture with Hong Kong-listed real estate operator Hobson Group.

A store in Mumbai is slated to open in 2024, through a joint venture with local fashion group Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd., with additional plans for a New Delhi store.

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The group also opened stores in Doha, Qatar; Luxembourg and Shanghai, China, in 2019. Its outposts in Beijing and Shanghai operate with partner IT Ltd, and Galeries Lafayette has announced further plans in Macau and Chongqing. The group aims to build 10 stores in China by 2025.

Earlier this year, Galeries Lafayette was in exclusive negotiations to sell the historic BHV Marais department store to Groupe SGM (the Société des Grands Magasins), a family-owned company specializing in city center retail.

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