French retail powerhouse Galeries Lafayette is set to bid adieu to its Berlin store, marking the end of a chapter that began in 1996 when the iconic brand expanded beyond French borders. The Berlin store, nestled in the vibrant Mitte district, will conclude its operations by the close of 2024. In a recent press release, Galeries Lafayette revealed that it will not renew the lease for the architecturally stunning Jean Nouvel-designed building, currently owned by real estate developer Tishman Speyer. This strategic decision reflects the ever-evolving «consumer expectations in Germany» and a «remarkable shift in the city’s commercial landscape.»
Galeries Lafayette officially communicated this significant decision to its industrial relations partners on October 4th. The store, a sprawling 9,000 square meters of retail space on Friedrichstrasse, currently employs 190 dedicated individuals who now face an uncertain employment future.
Nicolas Houzé, CEO of Galeries Lafayette, expressed deep appreciation for nearly three decades of offering the best of French living to discerning German customers. Acknowledging Berlin’s remarkable transformation in recent years, Houzé noted that the changing commercial dynamics of the city have paved the way for new market entrants. He further added, «As a responsible employer, we are fully committed to providing comprehensive support to all employees affected by this transition.»
Reports from German media suggest that Berlin authorities are actively exploring the acquisition of the building for use as the city’s central library, potentially repurposing this iconic space for a new purpose.
Outside of France, Galeries Lafayette will retain a single European outpost in Luxembourg. The brand’s global presence will continue through a network of partner-operated stores, with a strong emphasis on expansion in Asia. Galeries Lafayette has ambitious plans for new store openings in Macau, Chongqing, Mumbai, and New Delhi in the coming years, demonstrating the brand’s commitment to growth and adaptability.