Galeries Lafayette to turn 22 French stores into franchises

PARIS, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Upmarket department store chain Galeries Lafayette is to turn 22 department stores of its French network into franchises, as it seeks to cut costs and focus instead on expanding abroad and moving more into digital and online businesses.

The deal covers the sale of the stores’ business and buildings located in small and medium-sized cities to property group Financiere Immobiliere Bordelaise for an undisclosed amount, Galeries Lafayette said on Tuesday.

It will have no impact on the jobs of the 900 employees concerned, added the company.

When the deal is finalised in the second half of the year, Galeries Lafayette will still operate 28 department stores in France on its own, and 27 as franchises.

The Galeries Lafayette group, known for its flagship Boulevard Haussmann store in Paris, has been expanding abroad in recent years to target high-spending shoppers in the Middle East and Asia.

In September 2017, Galeries Lafayette said it would buy an initial 51 percent stake in online and catalogue retailer La Redoute to boost its digital businesses and to help it compete better with online retail giants such as Amazon. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)