H&M to close its controversial Paris store

Cars on the Champs-Elysees, Paris
Chain stores and heavy traffic on the Champs-Elysees have become a sore point for Parisians. Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP
Swedish ready-to-wear clothing giant H&M announced plans on Wednesday to close its Champs-Elysées store, 11 years after a controversial opening on Paris' most celebrated avenue.

The company said consultations were underway with trade unions on the plans to shut down the site, part of a global transformation to respond better to customer demands and ensure stores are optimally situated.

In April, H&M announced  plans to shut 350 of its 5,000 stores worldwide, while opening up 100 new locations. H&M said all 105 employees at the Champs-Elysees store would be offered jobs in its other Paris shops.

The retail clothing sector has struggled for years with the rise of online shopping, and the coronavirus pandemic only added to the trouble as stores were shuttered under health orders.

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H&M had waged a five-year legal battle with Paris authorities who wanted to keep the discount clothes shop off the avenue.

The Champs-Elysée has become an increasing sore point for Parisians, as the famous and once exclusive avenue gradually filled up with chain stores and tourists, while heavy traffic along the route made it noisy and polluted.

The mayor’s office has unveiled a plan to completely pedestrianise the avenue, turning it into ‘an extraordinary garden’. 

However the €250m transformation will not take place until after the Olympics in 2024.

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