PARIS, June 12 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)