When I heard that Shu Uemura was having a sale of 40% off on all of their products, I rushed over to Galeries Lafayette department store after work.
Twice a year, in January and in June, there are monster sales in this country. That’s when I buy most of my clothing, bed linens, cosmetics, and other things normally beyond my budget. For those who don’t know, Shu Uemura is a (fabulous) Japanese cosmetic and skincare products line. You should try their products at least once, some are iconic, like their cleansing oil. Described as “an extraordinary cleansing experience”, the newest Anti-Oxi oil removes micro impurities and stubborn make-up in one full swoop. It all comes off, eye makeup and lipstick included. And it’s not oily.
Their individual eye shadows come in a breathtaking range of hues and colors, as well as their lipsticks. All in all, it’s a great brand.
Later, while wandering around Heyraud shoe store in search of flat black ankle boots, I found these, also at 40% off. Made in Portugal. (Another reason to visit Portugal: gorgeous leather goods.)
Paris’s two department stores, Galeries Lafayette and Au Printemps, have changed dramatically since I first started shopping there in the 1990s. Today, you will find Mandarin or Cantonese-speaking hostesses positioned at each entry point and standing on every floor at the top of each escalator. The entire shopping experience has been calibrated to serve the Chinese/Asian shopper.
Only three days ago, The Wall Street Journal published an article entitled New Wave of Chinese Shoppers Splurges on Luxury Goods, by Matthew Dalton. Here’s an excerpt:
On a recent morning in the Parisian department store Galeries Lafayette, Meng Xin from Beijing was at the Céline boutique to buy a €1,250 handbag. With demand reviving, Galeries Lafayette has opened a store across the street from its main location in central Paris to serve tour buses filled with Chinese shoppers. All signs are in Chinese and French. The new outlet is meant to free up Galeries Lafayette’s main store for more discerning Chinese customers.
“China has become extremely dynamic,” said Bernard Arnault, chief executive and controlling shareholder of LVMH Möet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
On Thursday, the luxury conglomerate and industry bellwether reported record annual revenue and profits, led by a surge in Chinese sales. Revenue for 2017 was €42.6 billion, up 13%, while profits rose 29%.
It’s true that sometimes the ordinary shopper feels a little bit pushed out. For those who haven’t read my 2015 post entitled Department stores, Chinese shoppers, and searching for a frying pan, here it is here –