Paris Concept Store Colette Closing After 20 Years

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Colette in Paris
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PARIS — Landmark French concept store Colette is closing its doors after 20 years.

Staff were informed of the decision on Wednesday morning, said Sarah Andelman, creative director and purchasing manager. Andelman is the public face of the boutique, founded by her mother, Colette Roussaux.

“As all good things must come to an end, after 20 wonderful years, Colette should be closing its doors on Dec. 20 of this year,” the store said in a statement, explaining that Roussaux was ready to retire.

“Until our last day, nothing will change. Colette will continue to renew itself each week with exclusive collaborations and offerings, also available on our website, colette.fr,” it added.

The store is in talks with Saint Laurent to take over the location, it said.

“We would be proud to have a brand with such a history, with whom we have frequently collaborated, taking over our address. We are happy of the serious interest expressed by Saint Laurent in this project, and it could also represent a very good opportunity for our employees,” it added.

Colette, famed for its regularly updated window displays and frequent store events, recently launched a series of monthlong takeovers of the store, beginning with Balenciaga from June 19 to Aug. 5.

Les Vacances de Lucien, offering a selection from brands represented by Paris PR firm Lucien Pagès, will take over the space from Aug. 7 to Sept. 2, followed by Sacai Sept. 4-30, Thom Browne Oct. 2-28, Chanel Oct. 30-Nov. 25 and wrapping with Saint Laurent Nov. 27-Dec. 20.

The store, famous for its blue dot logo, posted revenues of 28 million euros, or $31 million, in 2016, with online accounting for roughly 20 percent, according to a spokesman.

It celebrated its 20th anniversary in March at Les Arts Décoratifs, where Brooklyn-based design firm Snarkitecture set up its installation “The Beach,” featuring an enclosure filled with 300,000 recyclable plastic balls.

In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily at the time, Andelman — who has spent her entire career at Colette — responded to speculation about the future of the boutique.

“Every year, people ask us how long we plan to go on. We are always searching for newness, discovering new designers and launching new talents, so there is no reason to give up. If suddenly there were nothing interesting left anywhere, we would reconsider, but fortunately something cool comes along every day,” she said.

She said Roussaux, who still lives above the store, is the majority owner of the business and has never considered bringing in an outside investor. Andelman also said she did not know the revenues of the store.

“Our accountant does, but luckily, I function more by instinct. I never have a budget when I’m ordering. That doesn’t mean I spend money as if it didn’t belong to me. I’m careful. My orders are reasonable,” she said. “I know I own a percentage, but likewise, I don’t know what my percentage is.”

Andelman said the store’s revenues were hit by the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, which sharply impacted tourism, but added the retailer was better equipped than some luxury brands to deal with the drop-off.

“We work at it, but we’re lucky in the sense that we get a steady amount of foot traffic, unlike some luxury stores on streets like Avenue Montaigne. So even if there is a drop in the number of foreign visitors, or people cut back their spending, the store keeps going at times like these,” she said. “We really felt the impact last summer. Fortunately, we also sell online, and our e-commerce site is growing.”