Printemps (pronounced [pʁɛ̃tɑ̃]; meaning "spring" in French) is a French department store chain (French: grand magasin, literally "big store"). The Printemps stores focus on beauty, lifestyle, fashion, accessories, and men's wear.
|Founded||Paris, France (3 November 1865)|
|Founder||Jules Jaluzot and Jean-Alfred Duclos|
|France; Andorra; Ginza, Tokyo; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Shanghai|
|Parent||Divine Investments SA|
Printemps was founded in 1865 by Jules Jaluzot and Jean-Alfred Duclos. The original store was designed by noted architects Jules and Paul Sédille and opened at the corner of Le Havre and Boulevard Haussmann in Paris, France, on 3 November 1865. The building was greatly expanded in 1874, and elevators (then a great novelty) from the 1867 Universal Exposition were installed. Rebuilt after a fire in 1881, the store became the first to use electric lighting, in 1888. (Customers could observe the workings of the power plant behind a glass wall.) It was also one of the first department stores with direct subway access, the Metro being connected in 1904.
The policies of Printemps revolutionized retail business practices. The store marked items with set prices and eschewed the haggling based on customer appearance that had previously been standard in retail shopping. Like other grands magasins (literally "big store", department store), Printemps used the economies of scale to provide high quality goods at prices that the expanding middle class could afford. They also pioneered the idea of discount sales to clear outdated stock, and later the use of window models to display the latest fashions. Printemps was noted for its branding innovations as well, handing out bouquets of violets on the first day of spring and championing the new Art Nouveau style, with its nature inspired motifs.
In 1904, a near collapse of the business led to the resignation of Jules Jaluzot. He was succeeded by Gustave Languionie, who the following year announced the construction of a second store. This location, designed by architect Rene Binet, opened five years later and is famously dominated by a glass domed hall 42 meters in height, and a noted Art Nouveau staircase. (Removed in 1955.) The first store outside of Paris was opened in 1912 in Deauville. Peter Laguionie, the son of Gustave, took the helm of the store in 1920, rebuilding it after another large fire in 1921. In 1931, Printemps created the discount chain Prisunic.
By 1970, there were 23 Printemps locations and 13 Prisunic discount outlets. The oil-price driven French economic crisis of the early 1970s significantly threatened the Printemps business model. In response, the firm was transformed into a limited corporation, with a controlling interest acquired by the Maus Frères, a Swiss holding company. Led by Jean-Jacques Delort, the firm embarked on a turnaround strategy, creating specialty stores and brands (such as Armand Thierry clothing) and branching out into retail areas such as food and mail. In the 1980s, the brand went global, opening stores in Japan, Istanbul, Jeddah, Dubai, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
The flagship Printemps store is located on Boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, along with other well-known department stores like Galeries Lafayette. There are other Printemps stores in Paris and throughout France. The company has opened branches outside France in locations including Andorra, the Ginza shopping district in Tokyo, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Shanghai.
However, the franchises in Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, which opened in the 1980s, and the one in Taipei, which opened in 1993, are closed, as is the only North American branch in Denver, Colorado, which had opened in 1987. A franchise that was supposed to open in 1998 in Ratu Plaza, Jakarta, was under construction and was being finished when the Asian economic crisis and the May 1998 riots hit, and the franchise never opened. On 15 January 2014, Printemps opened "its first new store in 32 years in the Carrousel du Louvre shopping mall in Paris."
The figures of the Four Seasons on the façade were sculpted by French sculptor Henri Chapu. Jaluzot was replaced as owner in 1900 by Gustave Laguionie, after the business came close to collapse. In the early 20th century, the building was then extended along the Boulevard Haussmann by architect René Binet in an art nouveau style. The building burned down, and its interior was rebuilt in the 1920s.
A remarkable feature of the Haussmann store is an elaborate cupola above the main restaurant in the store, installed during the 1923 reconstruction. In 1939, to avoid the risk that it would be destroyed in bombing attacks, the cupola was dismantled and stored at Clichy. It was restored in 1973 by the grandson of its original designer, using plans that had been kept in the archives of the family business. In 1975, the façade and cupola of the building were registered as historical monuments. Their slogan, invented in 1996, is "Au Printemps, nous avons des vêtements!", which is sung as a catchy jingle in advertisements.
On 16 December 2008, the Paris department store Printemps Haussmann was evacuated following a bomb threat from the terrorist group FRA (Afghan Revolutionary Front). The demining services found five sticks of dynamite in the toilet of the store. The FRA claimed this assassination attempt and demanded the withdrawal of 3,000 French soldiers deployed in Afghanistan.
Printemps and its subsidiaries were acquired in 1991 by François Pinault and merged with other holding into Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, now Kering, the parent company of Gucci and FNAC. In 1997, a complete renovation of the flagship store was completed. In 2006, PPR sold Printemps to the Italian Borletti Group (with equity partner Deutsche Bank), who made major investments to revamp the stores.
On 31 July 2013, Divine Investments SA (DiSA), a Qatari-controlled investment fund, announced it has bought Printemps. On 4 August 2013, labor organizations in France asked the Paris prosecutor's office to open a preliminary inquiry into the sale, in response to a complaint from labor representatives. On 8 August 2013, a French court rejected the request to stop the sale. A 2008 treaty exempts Qatari investors from taxes on the profits they make when they sell properties in France.
- Camille, Rey (2004). Christophe, Charles (ed.). Histoire du Printemps, 1865–1924, mémoire de maîtrise [History of Printemps 1865–1924, Memoire of the General Manager] (in French). Université Paris 1.
- Diderich, Joelle (15 January 2014). "Printemps' New Owner Ignites Retail Expansion". WWD. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
- Clichy, Entrepôts du Printemps (in French)
- "Explosives found in Paris store". BBC News. 16 December 2008. Retrieved 16 December 2008.
- Katz, Basil; Katrin Bennhold (16 December 2008). "Bomb Found at Paris Dept. Store". New York Times. Retrieved 16 December 2008.
- "Our Business - Private Equity". Borletti Group. Amministrazione Borletti. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- Fahmy, Dalia (31 July 2013). "Deutsche Bank Unit Sells Printemps Stores to Qatari Buyers". Businessweek. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- Diderich, Joelle (31 July 2013). "Qatari Fund Completes Printemps Purchase". WWD. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- Karmali, Sarah (1 August 2013). "Printemps Department Store Sold To Qatari Investment Fund". Vogue.com UK. Condé Nast Digital. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- "Printemps sold to Qatari-backed investors". www.FashionUnited.info. FashionUnited Group. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- Diderich, Joelle (5 August 2013). "Paris Prosecutor Probes Printemps Sale". WWD. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
- Karmali, Sarah (4 August 2013). "Printemps Sale Under Investigation". Vogue.com UK. Condé Nast Digital. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- "French prosecutors investigate Printemps sale". Reuters. Thomson Reuters. 2 August 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- Diderich, Joelle (8 August 2013). "French Court Rejects Bid to Block Printemps Sale". WWD. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- "Printemps sale to Qataris cleared by French court". Reuters. Thomson Reuters. 8 August 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- Laurent, Lionel (8 September 2013). "Special Report: In France, a tax-free property empire". Reuters. Thomson Reuters. Retrieved 6 August 2014.