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CHAMPS-ELYSÉES

Marks & Spencer returns to Paris

After a ten-year absence, British retailer Marks & Spencer opens its doors again in Paris on Thursday morning.

Marks & Spencer returns to Paris
Screenshot from Marks & Spencer website

The new store, situated at 100 Avenue des Champs-Elysées, will have 1,400 square metres of selling space across three floors.

French media gave large amounts of coverage to welcome the return of the classic British brand on Thursday. The store will stock women’s clothing, lingerie and food.

Excited French shoppers told BFM TV they were most thrilled about the return to the capital of favourites such as crumpets, jam and English biscuits. “It’s really given me a boost as I work nearby and can come here for my lunch,” said one.

Marks & Spencer said it has plans to open five more stores in the region in coming years, including one of 7,000 square metres in the So Ouest shopping mall in the western suburb of Levallois-Perret.

There are even plans to open a chain of the food-only “Simply Food” stores around the French capital to compete with stores such as Monoprix.

Fans of British food will be cheered by the news that sandwich chain Pret-a-Manger also plans to open stores in the French capital in 2012.

The closure of the company’s 18 stores ten years ago caused disappointment among French fans and British expatriates, as well as anger from unions over the 1,700 job losses that resulted.

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CHAMPS-ELYSÉES

Traders say 80 businesses hit in ‘yellow vest’ rampage

Some 80 shops and businesses on the Champs-Elysées avenue in Paris were vandalised this weekend when "yellow vest" protesters went on the rampage, with about 20 looted or torched, retailers said on Sunday.

Traders say 80 businesses hit in 'yellow vest' rampage
The handbag retailer Longchamp was badly vandalised. Photo: Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/AFP
Saturday's demonstrations were characterised by a sharp increase in violence after weeks of dwindling turnout, with hooded protesters looting and torching shops along the famed avenue.
 
It was the 18th consecutive weekend of demonstrations which began in mid-November as a protest against fuel price hikes but have since morphed into a potent anti-government movement.
   
“There was a wave of violence, we're dealing with the aftermath of the chaos. We're trying to reassure all the employees and then there are those who live here, too,” said Jean-Noel Reinhardt, head of the Committee Champs-Elysées, a local association with 180 members, most of them businesses. 
 
He said residents and business owners were pushing for talks with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe “to share our exasperation and explain our complaints. 
 
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“The authorities must put an end to this situation,” he insisted. Since the beginning, the prestigious avenue, which is known for its shops, cafes and luxury boutiques, has been the focal point for the demonstrations which have often turned violent, sparking running battles between police and protesters. 
   
On Saturday, the police appeared overrun as protesters swarmed the area, vandalising and later setting fire to Fouquet's brasserie, a favourite hangout of the rich and famous for the past century — as well as luxury handbag store Longchamp.
   
Clothing outlets Hugo Boss, Lacoste and Celio were also damaged, as well as a bank, a chocolatier and several newsstands.   
 
“Enough is enough. And this Saturday went too far!” raged Bernard Stalter, president of CMA France, a national network of chambers of trades and crafts. 
   
He also demanded a meeting with top ministers “this week in order to find solutions which will put an end to a situation which has become as volatile as it is unacceptable.”
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