Dr. Martens tests mall concept with new store in Paris' La Défense
Timberland and Vans can expect to see the arrival of another shoe brand on the second level of the Quatre Temps centre, in Paris' La Défense. For the first time in France, Dr. Martens will open a store inside a shopping centre. The brand is also replicating in Paris its new retail concept, a format designed by British agency Studio OL3, which uses a combination of used wooden flooring, burnished walls and other industrial elements. Meanwhile, the 90 square-metre-store will also feature a mural created by artist duo Fortifem.
The store opening, slated for November 10, is a test for the Britain-based, Germany-founded brand, which was acquired by investment fund Permira in 2014. Quatre Tempes is one of the most lively shopping malls in France, with some 44 million visitors per year. The business district also hosts 185,000 professionals each day with offices and numerous firms close by.
"The lessons are going to prove valuable," explained Ann-Sophie Barrellon, Dr. Martens head of expansion in Europe. "It's the first store for us to open inside a mall in France, the third in total in this market, and for the brand it's also the first time a store will open with such magnitude at a European level. Until now, Dr. Martens has always portrayed a strong familial culture, with a very British look. Stores are typically found in England's city centres, and in the streets of tier 2 cities, the notoriety of the brand helping the flow of clientele. In Europe, the brand is known but not at the same level. We need city centre's to be the number one locations."
In this vain, Dr. Martens is also opening in the centre of Lyon, in the revived Grôlée district, opposite the new Uniqlo store, with an 80-square-metre store. Meanwhile, the brand is also searching for other retail locations in fellow French city majors such as Strasbourg, Rennes, Bordeaux, Nantes and Toulouse.
"The development of our offering, beyond Originals and Made in England, allows us to expand. The Refined line is a much more dressy collection; we also have the lighter models with DM's Lite... This has also enlarged the clientele for the brand, which in turn, allows us to be located in heavy traffic retail zones."
Dr. Martens has also opened six stores in the Netherlands and is preparing its first store in Roermond, in the Dutch region of Limburg. In Belgium, the brand will open in Brussels on November 3 and is eyeing a third store in Gand. In particular, however, the brand is focusing on Germany, and expects to rollout its new industrial retail concept in all of the nation's major cities, before embarking on new territories.
At a global level, the brand said it opened 16 new stores in 2016, taking its store total to approximately 100. Last year, it recorded revenues of 232 million pounds (261 million euros).
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