The evolution in fashion sales channels means Maria Luisa, one of Paris’ most famous destination boutiques, is set to close in August.
Just days after LS reported on the surge in luxury companies racing to get online, esteemed Paris retailer, Maria Luisa Poumaillou has announced that she is going to shut up shop on Rue Rouget de L’Isle in August to focus on the next phase in her career, which she feels should be characterized by online and department store-based retail.
In January 2009, Poumaillou was appointed fashion editor of Printemps department store, and will continue to oversee her shop-in-shop located there after the closure of her eponymous boutique. She also has plans to open an e-boutique on Thecorner.com, operated by Yoox.
The retail veteran’s view on ending a chapter which began with her first boutique in 1988 is that she can better market and sell the designers she carries, including young names like Christopher Kane and Marios Schwab, not in the context of a small concept store, but online and in large department stores, both of which she described as being “100 times” more powerful than her much loved boutique, in terms of sales and visibility.
Independent boutiques were essential when big department stores were not so forward-looking, but Poumaillou recognizes that times have changed: “The evolution of the retail sector over the past 20 years has been colossal.”
However, Poumaillou does not believe that the multi-brand boutique format has completely had its day, citing talks with partners to open stores in China and Japan as well as the possibility of using her store at 38 Rue du Mont Thabor as a dedicated launch pad for her fledgling signature label, which is currently distributed in around 30 sales points.