On Rue de Béthune, the renovation of the 25,000 sq. m. former shopping centre dominated by Galeries Lafayette was recently completed after five years of work. The department store is no longer there and the location has been renamed Le 31, to clearly underline its new identity and conceptual modernity. The building now houses an 8,500 sq. m. coworking space (Woko), a four-star hotel with 120 rooms (Okko), restaurant areas (1,700 sq. m.), as well as sports and leisure facilities (escape game, augmented reality, climbing walls and gym) spread over 5,200 sq. m. Another distinctive feature is the absence of mainstream fashion retailers. Visitors must content themselves with two sportswear retailers: Citadium and the City version of Decathlon, which together only take up 2,400 sq. m.
What to think of it?
By their very name, shopping centres originally conveyed the idea that shopping was “at the centre” of their concerns. As time went by, they became keen to be regarded as living spaces. Today, they increasingly strive to be seen as communities, in terms of both spirit and usage, and each retailer’s presence is justified by the interactions it can generate with its fellow outlets. Here, complementarity is a catalyst for footfall. Those who stay at Le 31’s hotel will therefore be attracted by the idea of doing sport or eating there. But they will also appreciate the ability to buy a new pair of sneakers without leaving the complex… Thus, each retailer’s customers are potential customers of all the other stores in what could be described as a living ecosystem. Ultimately, the aim here is no longer to pack in fashion brands that can be found elsewhere, but to build a lifestyle concept based on an understanding of the target audience’s expectations. This generates a sense of belonging and is arguably the best way to create all those fresh experiences that retailers keep promising.
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A glance in the rear-view mirror
In novembre 2010, L’Œil spotted an original initiative involving non‑commercial transactions between customers of a brand…
Since the end of the summer holidays, Intermarché has enabled families to swap items via its Facebook page, “Tous unis contre la vie chère”, which has around 40,000 fans. Christened “Family troc”, the service covers three product categories (entertainment, clothing and furniture) and offers users three options: searching for items by category, directly contacting individuals who wish to swap items via their Facebook mailbox and creating their own advertisement by completing a product information form and uploading an image of the item they wish to swap.
The service developed by Intermarché is a sign that retailers are keener than ever to get closer to their customers, as well as signalling their awareness of the need to move beyond a strictly commercial rationale.
Here, the relational side of things takes precedent over transactional concerns. Not only because the battlefield of price is extremely contested and well-trodden, but also because an increasing number of consumers are more interested in the circulation of goods than in their accumulation. While Family Troc allows Intermarché to respond to the public’s desire to see a departure from the consumption habits of the last 50 years, it is also an opportunity for the retailer to boost its notoriety among young consumers who are always on the web and are used to “market places” and “buy-and-sell forums”.