Clothes, Fashion accessories, Jewelry
French authorities gave the go-ahead Friday to renovate the iconic former Parisian department store La Samaritaine on the River Seine, ending years of legal wrangling over the historic site.
Perched on the right bank of the Seine, the hulking store occupies some of the most expensive real estate in Paris but was shut down in 2005 when it ran afoul of health and safety regulations. Efforts to redevelop the site have hit several snags, notably over plans by Japanese architecture firm Sanaa to build a massive undulating glass facade over a part of the building, which is now owned by luxury brands company LVMH.
But on Friday the State Council, Frances highest legal body, gave a green light to the renovation project, saying it "did not break" local planning regulations.
LVMH, which owns brands such as Louis Vuitton -- plans to turn the complex, including the main building and three adjacent properties, into a five-star hotel, offices, shops and flats at a cost of some 460 million euros ($520 million).
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo welcomed the decision, saying it would create 4,400 jobs.
"By 2018, all Parisians and visitors will be able to visit this new exceptional site, which will contain shops, a hotel, low-cost housing, a creche and offices," said Hidalgo in a statement.
Critics complained the design would be an eyesore, ruining the glorious banks of the River Seine, and heritage groups filed a complaint over the design plans.
In May 2014 a court cancelled one of the renovation permits, saying the glass wall "clashed" with the look of the other buildings in the area.
The administrative appeals court then upheld the cancellation of the permit, saying the new building "did not comply with the obligation to fit the planned construction into its urban surroundings."
- Novelties shop -
La Samaritaine, a Paris landmark, had its golden age during the 1930s at the height of the Art Deco era but went into decline for the last 30 years of its existence.
It had its start in 1870, when Ernest Cognacq, a hawker from the west coast of France, opened a small "novelties" shop on the banks of the Seine.
He called it La Samaritaine (the Samaritan woman) after a pump on the nearby Pont Neuf whose facade depicted Christ and the woman of Samaria at Jacobs Well, as recounted in the Bible.
He would later buy up adjoining buildings until the store covered 70,000 square metres (750,000 square feet).
However the business piled up losses and in 2001 was bought by LVMH, owned by Frances richest man Bernard Arnault.
He was forced to shut it down after a police report said the whole art deco structure needed to be urgently renovated to replace antiquated electrical circuits, malfunctioning smoke extraction systems and flammable wooden flooring.
The renovated Samaritaine was supposed to have opened in 2013 but this has been pushed back several times.
Wines, Spirits, Beverages
“In 2015, the global wine and spirits market is still good and France remains one of the best wine producers and exporters in the world”, according to Christophe Commeau, head of the wines and spirits department at Business France, interviewed this week by Business France Radio.
France at the heart of a global competition
France has more and more competitors like Italia and Spain but also Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. It’s a worldwide competition; “to survive on the global market, producing the best wine is not enough”, asserts Christophe Commeau, even if “in the future, consumers will drink less but much better”.
The best wine at the best price
That’s why over the past few years, French companies, producers, makers and traders, have started to increase the quality of their products and now export the best wine at the best price.
France three main strengths
To face this competition, France can rely on many strengths from its variety to its quality and its price. With Burgundy, Bordeaux, Loire Valley, South of France, Alsace, Champagne, sparkling or sweet wines, France has “so many wines for a small country at (so) many prices”.
Development of the organic wine market
Also, French companies have been developing one main novelty, underlined by Christophe Commeau: “800 hundred French wine makers are now doing organic wine”. A necessary new trend, as so many countries now want to import this type of wine.
New wines for Asia and Champagne for the UK
A strategy linked with France ability to find new opportunities and create wines for new markets like Asia, and especially China. “We have to prospect and organize wine tastings in Asia but not only”. USA remains a big consumer and our closest neighbors are our biggest clients; especially the UK, France first market, thanks to the Champagne demand. “French wine on this market is more and more sophisticated”.
France role on the wines and spirit global market goes beyond. Every year, France organizes wine tours in the biggest trade fairs, master classes and training for cellarmen and sommeliers to learn how to pair correctly French wines with local food. “Exporting and promoting wine abroad is good but we need to train as well the professionals of the sector.”
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French anti-ageing skin care specialist Laboratoires Filorga has announced it intends to expand abroad, particularly in the US and China. The firm says it wants to end the year with a turnover of €60m.“Filorga has opened an office in Miami in the US, where it has signed a distribution agreement with Nordstrom, as well as in Hong Kong, for its development in Asia and finally in Dubai to develop its activities in the Middle East,” representatives of the company told Cosmetic Business News.“Other projects are in the pipeline, notably in Europe,” they added.The company has seen growth of 35% over the past seven years and currently generates 55% of its sales outside France. It is now creating two new subsidiaries in Poland and Portugal, which will open in January 2016 and January 2017 respectively. In the Far East, it appears that the company will focus on e-tailing and has invested in Taobao, part of the Alibaba Group: it also intends to create products tailored to the Asian market.In 2015, it will be distributing its products in Austria, Dubai, Sweden and Switzerland, according to the company’s proprietor, HLD, which bought Filorga in 2010. The company also began its first-ever publicity campaign in France in January, partnering with perfumery chain Marionnaud, which has exclusive distribution rights to the brand in France.Filorga, which was founded in 2007, is best-known for its anti-ageing products, such as the Skin Perfusion range, which can be found in spas. However, last year, in partnership with HLD, it also bought 70% of French dermo-cosmetics brand SVR, which is distributed in pharmacies. Filorga has now signed an agreement with AS Watson to distribute SVR in China.
H&M announced its collaboration this fall with Parisian fashion house Balmain and its artistic director Olivier Rousteing during the Billboard Music Awards.
Rousteing and models Kendall Jenner and Jourdan Dunn walked the red carpet at the Billboard Music Awards, revealing the first pieces of the collection. Through social media, H&M and Balmain invited fans to join a movement of togetherness: #HMBalmaination."I want to talk to my generation: this is my main purpose as a designer. H&M allows me the unique possibility of bringing everyone into the world of Balmain, getting a piece of the dream and creating a global #HMBalmaination: a movement of togetherness, fueled on a hashtag. The collaboration felt extremely natural to me because everybody can connect with the H&M brand. It calls for unity, and I am all for it", says Olivier Rousteing. "We are excited to have Balmain as our guest designer at H&M and create a truly involving experience for everybody. With its mix of couture spirit and street wear attitude, Balmain owns a unique style, at once opulent and direct, sensual and energetic. It is also closely linked to the show business and music worlds, which adds another element of surprise," says Ann-Sofie Johansson, Creative Advisor at H&M. Available from November 5, in around 250 stores worldwide and online, the collection will feature clothing and accessories for both women and men.
Lancel is bringing us a new collection called Pop, a line of bags that will notably come in three formats: 12 hours, 24 hours and 48 hours. Made in France, this collection is light and pliable, thanks to its soft leather, but also fun, with its colours that stray from the usual offering the leather good brand from Richemont usually gives us.Inspired by Lancel campaigns from the 80s, the campaign for the Pop collection features Malgosia Bela and Will Chalker shot by Patrick Demarchelier.
Pop will be available in stores and, as of May 7, on the mini-site www.pop.lancel.com, which will serve as a teaser for the launch of Lancel’s global e-commerce business, scheduled for later this year.
In line with this new collection, the French house has teamed up with Wallpaper magazine for three additional travel items to be discovered exclusively on the e-commerce site.
LOreal posted a 14.1 percent rise in first-quarter sales on Monday, helped by the weak euro and resilient demand for luxury goods products such as Yves Saint Laurents Black Opium perfume.
The maker of Garnier shampoo and Maybelline make-up said the market for mass consumer goods had declined slightly in Western Europe but was still growing moderately in North America.
Sales growth at LOreals mass consumer goods business slowed to 1.7 percent on a like-for-like basis in the three months to March 31, down from 3 percent in the previous quarter, while sales growth for luxury products slowed to 7.5 percent from 8.6 percent.
Overall, the worlds biggest cosmetics group generated quarterly sales of 6.44 billion euros ($6.93 billion), up 4 percent on a like-for-like basis and 5.2 percent at constant exchange rates.
LOreal did not give a precise forecast for the full year other than to express confidence in its ability to outperform the market again and achieve growth in sales and profit.
LOreal shares, which have gained 27 percent since Jan. 1, rose 0.5 percent to close at 177.20 euros.
€1 = $1.07/£0.72
Vicomte A. is strengthening its international presence. The French brand, founded in 2005 by Arthur de Soultrait, is now offering its polos along with the entirety of its high-end ready-to-wear for men and women in Belgium and Luxembourg.It is notably being carried in the Brussels concept store Smets Premium Store, located on Leuvensesteenweg. The brand, which directly manages nearby markets, has half-dozen high-end locations in both countries.
With a presence at more than 300 retail locations worldwide, it is also expanding internationally. The Japanese and US markets (where the brand has a showroom) are the main contributors to its export business, but it is also expanding into new countries.
It has signed a distribution agreement in Australia and announced its deployment in a premium multibrand network for summer 2015. The initiative is being accompanied by a polo event sponsorship deal that was signed in 2014.
Thanks to the work of a commercial agent, a dozen or so clients are also carrying the brand’s summer 2015 collection in Russia, while the brand is also now present in the concept store Grandezza in Baku, Azerbaijan. Vicomte A. is additionally in talks to open a monobrand location in Moscow.The brand is already present in China through corner stores, but it has just finished up negotiations for an exclusive distribution agreement and the opening of its first store in Taiwan, in Taichung City, scheduled for September. Two openings should follow in 2016 in Taipei and Kaohsiung.
At the beginning of 2014, the brand received investment from CM-CIC Capital Finance and strengthened its management team over the course of the year. It then announced an objective of having international sales making up 40% of revenues in 2018 as compared with 15% in 2013.
UBIFRANCE, the French agency for international business developement, comes under the aegis of France's Ministry for the Economy, Industry & Employment. UBIFRANCE lies at the heart of France's public-sector export support framework.