Chanel’s Mega Maisons: Remodeled Paris Store Now Largest in World

Chanel has unveiled its largest store in the world - the refurbished and enlarged Rue Cambon flagship in Paris - the first of three mega-redos.

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Chanel began overhauling its global network of 191 boutiques and corners four years ago, starting with a remote location in a commercial center in Japan and tweaking, refining and individualizing the concept as it went along. The entire program should be completed by the end of next year.

But Montenay stressed that it’s an ongoing work to perfect and individualize boutiques. “In most of the stores, we have a specific atmosphere. A store in Austria is not the same as in Spain,” she said. “They are from the same family, but they are not identical. Each has its own personality.”

The Cambon location has a rich history, since the legendary designer opened her first boutique at No. 31 back in 1921. Today, the building also houses the couture salon, offices and Lagerfeld’s design studios.

Closely held Chanel, owned by the Wertheimer family, never provides financial information and Montenay declined to give sales projections for the large store. However, she could not hide the fact that rtw has been selling briskly at Rue Cambon. Some wall-mounted pegs, meant to showcase outfits from Lagerfeld’s collection, displayed handbags because the store has already sold 85 percent of its fall-winter inventory throughout Europe, she said. “We are now waiting for the cruise collection, which should arrive at the end of October,” she said.

She declined to pinpoint sell-through figures for other markets, but noted Chanel sales in the U.S. are up about 37 percent for the season. As reported, Bergdorf Goodman sold $3.1 million at a fall trunk show for Chanel last May, breaking records for the store and for New York.
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