How upscale department stores are reinvigorating themselves

How upscale department stores are reinvigorating themselves

“Globe and Mail says department stores need to be “more than simply a space to buy stuff.”


The Globe and Mail
By Amy Verner and Marina Strauss

On a recent Sunday, when stores in Paris are usually closed, Le Bon Marché was not only open and jammed with Christmas shoppers, it was teeming with young children riding a merry-go-round and taking in a puppet show. Partly, this jour exceptionnel was a family-friendly culmination to celebrations of the department store's 160th anniversary. Earlier this fall, there were also special exhibits (including windows designed by star graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi) and events (for example, a film featuring Catherine Deneuve strolling the department store's Left Bank neighbourhood).

All very charming. But there is a broader rationale for tipping the balance between shopping and spectacle here, evident by the masses of large black and gold shopping bags in view: To thrive, department stores need to be much more than simply a space to buy stuff. They need to tap customers at a deeper level – the level of ideas and dreams.

No one understands this better than Frédéric Bodenes, who was hired to “tell stories” and “create experiences” for the store's shoppers – a position that had never existed before he came on board. Read the complete article

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