Galeries Lafayette to open in Istanbul
The Lafayette group is continuing its quest for international business. The department store retailer had already announced projects for Beijing, Istanbul and Doha and has now selected its official partner for the Turkish metropolis of Istanbul. The ink is drying on a deal with Demsa for the opening of a flagship store sometime in 2015. "The sales floor will cover around 9,000 square meters," said a company spokesperson in Paris. Both partners were in negotiations for a long time, as far back as the summer of 2011 when the joint-venture was first reported in this publication.
Demsa is a quite a heavyweight in Turkey's fashion and luxury business, already partners to brands such as Harvey Nichols, Guess, Salvatore Ferragamo, Michael Kors and Gerard Darel. Like the Casablanca Galeries Lafayette located in the Morocco Mall, the Istanbul store will benefit from its location in a shopping center, the Boulevardi Mall. The mall is also home to "upscale apartments, a 5-star hotel, a cinema and a large number of ready-to-wear shops," said the French group in a statement. But the developer of the Istanbul mall is none other than Emaar Turkey, the Turkish subsidiary of Dubai-based Emaar Properties group, already operating the Dubai Mall and partner to Galeries Lafayette in Dubai.
Galeries Lafeyette's international expansion is meant to serve as a spearhead for the next few years. At one point, the company had gotten rid of all its stores outside of France, only keeping the Berlin location, opened since 1996 and operating in the red for years. The chain now has stores in the German capital, Dubai and Casablanca. The next openings are scheduled for 2013 in Jakarta and Beijing, followed by Doha in 2014 and Istanbul in 2015. All international stores are operated as franchises except the Berlin and Beijing locations. In China, the Galeries Lafayette Group has formed a joint venture with the Hong Kong giant IT Holding.
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