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France is known in the retail market as a very popular destination for international brands. It is perceived by leading brands as a secure market where the potential turnover, profitability and brand recognition are high: the population tends to be upwardly mobile and the country attracts large numbers of tourists. The principal drawbacks are lack of available prime units, perceived high rent and key money, the high cost of opening a store and a complex legal framework. Yet, once a retailer understands the parameters, a very profitable business can be developed. Paris and its surrounding suburban centres dominate France, in the same way London dominates the United Kingdom. Other important cities include Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nice, Cannes, Strasbourg, Nantes and Rennes between others. Since the 1960s, France has expanded massively its out-of-town retail infrastructure. Most shopping in France is done in peripheral shopping centres but high street locations are still major shopping destinations. The total gross leasable area of the 674 shopping centres in France is 15.3 million sq m. The growth rate of this stock has been low for many years and much slower than in the retail sector as a whole, this is due primarily to the long planning processes that can see a centre take over 10 years from planning approved to opening. Renovation (including or not extension) of existing shopping centres has being increasing. In a competitive market with slow down consumption, keeping/increasing footfall has getting more challenging. Such projects create opportunity to new retailers'entry which may attract consumers; to create a new shopping experience.

The economic climate as improved in 2017 and France is still perceived by retailers as a profitable target. Every year, over 30% of international brands has expansion plans in France. Then, choosing the good place has been remaining a crucial choice.

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France offers a blend of Celtic and Latin attitudes that can be unpredictable and sometimes contradictory but always ensures a very varied experience of business and social interaction. There are regulations for everything, making France a complex and challenging market, where everyone has an opinion on everything! Food and opinions are unavoidable and individualism inescapable. It is this mix that makes France so attractive coupled with one of the most beautiful and romantic city in the world.


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