Galeries Lafayette to open Milan store in global expansion

PARIS, June 12 Thu Jun 12, 2014 6:37am EDT

PARIS, June 12 (Reuters) - French department store group Galeries Lafayette plans to open a new flagship shop in Milan, Italy, as part of an international expansion aimed at tapping high-spending tourists from emerging markets to offset weaker demand at home.

The group said on Thursday it had reached an agreement with mall specialists Australia's Westfield Group and Italy's Gruppo Stilo to open a 18,000 square metre store by 2016 in the new Westfield Milan shopping centre.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Westfield Milan, with over 175,000 square meters of sales area, will be Italy's largest shopping centre located around 20 minutes from the city centre.

Spending by tourists, particularly from emerging markets, has emerged as a key source of revenue for luxury goods companies. Over two-thirds of luxury spending by mainland Chinese, for example, was made overseas in 2013.

Founded in 1894, the unlisted Galeries Lafayette group operates a chain of 63 department stores, including the flagship 60,000 square meters Boulevard Haussmann store in Paris.

Its department stores had retail sales of 3.6 billion euros ($4.9 billion) in 2013, and employ over 13,000 people. It has overseas stores in Berlin, Casablanca, Jakarta, Dubai, and Beijing, and plans openings in Doha and Istanbul in early 2016.

($1 = 0.7345 Euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Mark Potter)

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