PARIS, France — Printemps plans to close seven stores in France and cut 428 jobs as it reels from the effects of the pandemic.
The department store operator will also spend €40 million euros ($47 million) annually for at least two years on areas such as developing digital capabilities and renewing the store offerings, it said in a statement Tuesday. Job reductions will be across the company. The store closures don’t include the famed flagship near the Opera Garnier in Paris.
“Printemps now has to transform its model to halt the losses and adapt to the market demands to ensure its long-term sustainability,” the company said.
France has entered its second lockdown, imposed on Oct. 30 amid a resurgence in coronavirus cases. All non-essential shops across the country are closed, but retailers have been calling for an immediate reopening during what is normally their busiest quarter.
In the toughest year ever for retailers, Printemps has also faced management turmoil. Its former chief executive officer, Paolo de Cesare, left the group in February just as the pandemic struck Europe. His successor, Jean-Marc Bellaiche, only took over on Oct. 1.
Printemps, founded in 1865, generated sales of €1.7 billion in 2018, according to its website. Investors from Qatar bought the company in 2013 from Deutsche Bank AG and Italy’s Borletti for an undisclosed sum.
Long a draw for Chinese tourists — the drivers behind the luxury industry’s stellar growth for the past two decades — Parisian department stores have suffered from volatile sales in the past five years amid terror attacks, yellow vest protests, increased online shopping and, most recently, the global virus restrictions that brought a halt to international travel.
By Angelina Rascouet