After an investment of €10 million, the big flagship store of Galeries Lafayette in Paris will unveil a huge new women’s footwear section in its basement toward the middle of July, covering 3,200 square meters of net retail space, against a previous surface of only 1,400 m², plus a stocking area of 1,200 m². It will probably become the biggest shoe store of the kind in the capital and the world, serving also as an excellent international showcase for the brands in the market. It should be bigger than a similar space recently opened at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York and than the footwear section in Harrods in London.

The nicely decorated interior will be immediately replicated in five other department stores of the chain in other parts of France, and the concept is expected to be rolled out to a total of 18 stores in 2010, subsequently growing by between 10 and 15 additional locations each year. A new space will be created for men’s shoes within the flagship store next year. The general goal is to double to about 10 percent the revenues of the department store generated by footwear. Currently, the chain sells about €35 million worth of footwear at its main store and a similar amount in the rest of its store network.

The number of women’s footwear brands featured in the flagship store has been raised by 60 to a total of 150, one-half of which will be carried by Galeries Lafayette on an exclusive basis in France. Customers will be able to choose from among 12,000 different styles of men’s, women’s and children’s shoes. They will also be able to select the first private label shoe models of the chain, offered at medium price levels under the Galeries Lafayette Paris brand name, starting with men’s shoes this season and following up with women’s shoes in the autumn.