PARIS — Massimo Dutti has reopened its doors on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées after a five-month renovation.
With 5,350 square feet of retail area and an equal amount of behind-the-scenes space, it’s some prime real estate for the Inditex-owned brand, just across from the upcoming Louis Vuitton hotel and experience center.
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The Paris opening is the last of a series of new store rollouts in Europe over the last two months, following Brussels, Vienna, Zurich and two outposts in London. In true French fashion, the kickoff event celebrated “the art of food,” in coffee and a croissant from none other than popular pastry chef Cédric Grolet.
One of the smaller brands in the largest retail group in the world, Massimo Dutti is positioned as Zara’s more sophisticated older sibling, evidenced by its most recent campaign featuring Charlotte Rampling.
With the current craze for “quiet luxury,” the brand’s look of subdued colors and classic cuts fits in with the current zeitgeist, said a spokesperson present at the opening. “It’s the perfect time. It’s a win-win,” he said.
Envisioned as a new concept for Massimo Dutti stores, the interior is done up in calming but bright creams, with curved ceilings and recessed lighting as the brand looks to upscale its image and position itself on the cusp of accessible luxury.
“The collections are small, last longer, are not about noise. It’s not only for one night and it’s not fast fashion,” the spokesperson said. “The material is very selective, for the price and for the quality.” The brand works with the same suppliers and producers within the Inditex family.
Spread across two floors, the store has women’s upstairs and men’s downstairs, with an interior atrium filled with light and artificial birch trees. The space also abuts a large courtyard, which they hope to utilize in the warmer months.
In an unusual move for a retailer — but one designed to add to the luxury feel — all of the checkouts are hidden downstairs. In addition, there is a checkout directly in the dressing room so shoppers can change into their new outfit immediately if they so choose.
The spokesperson said the concept was to make the retail experience feel “very soft, very familiar” for the consumer. While the Zara flagship just steps away has put a focus on self-checkout, the Massimo Dutti store still has a human touch, with people working behind a marble counter for purchases. “It’s a different kind of experience; it’s one-on-one and it’s important to [the brand],” he added.
The company claimed the revamp has reduced the store’s energy consumption by around 30 percent with the installation of LED bulbs and motion-activated lighting, as well as cooling and heating tech such as special sensors that detect occupancy. This should also help cut the store’s water consumption as well, it said.
As the brand upscales its image, it will focus on improving customer service with an in-house style adviser and appointment shopping services with a private try-on space. The advisers will also maintain one-on-one relationships with the customers, calling or texting them to tell them about new pieces or other personalization touches, for example.
The brand’s omnichannel strategy will be upped via its app, which allows for in-store reservations as well as online purchase with a ship-to-home option by scanning the tag, among other tech similar to what has been trailed at Zara.
Massimo Dutti operates 600 stores across 72 countries. It opened a 13,600-square-foot flagship on New York’s 5th Avenue in 2012 and spread out to cities including Costa Mesa, Calif., Washington, D.C., and Houston , all of which are now closed. The spokesperson said the brand continues to sell with e-commerce in the U.S. and is planning a relaunch there. “I think the future is in the United States,” he said.
He said Massimo Dutti is positioned more as a luxury brand in China, where it has upward of 25 stores, and is performing very strongly there.
Massimo Dutti will revamp its Madeleine location in Paris with the new design concept, but that will likely not happen until after the Olympics next summer, the spokesperson added.
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