Paris' Galeries Lafayette sees drop in foreign shoppers after terror attacks

French soldiers, part of "Operation Vigipirate", patrol near the Galeries Lafayette in Paris on July 15, 2016, a day after the attack in Nice.
French soldiers, part of "Operation Vigipirate", patrol near the Galeries Lafayette in Paris on July 15, 2016, a day after the attack in Nice.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - France's Galeries Lafayette saw a 15 per cent drop in foreign shoppers at its flagship Paris store in the first half of 2016 after the November terror attacks, the upscale chain said on Wednesday (Sept 14).

The decline worsened over the summer and into September, "reaching 20 per cent" compared with the same period last year, chief executive Nicholas Houze told a press briefing.

While July sales helped the figures, August "was a lot quieter... and September remains difficult", he said.

The January-to-June period saw a 5.9 per cent drop in turnover for the chain, from 1.7 billion to 1.6 billion euros , Mr Houze added.

Visitors from China, Taiwan and the United States normally account for half of the company's turnover.

But a string of terror attacks has dented France's appeal among tourists, with the number of arrivals falling around 8 percent this year compared to 2015, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

Mr Houze said he was confident that foreign shoppers would return, since "Paris is still a dream destination".

Meanwhile, Galeries Lafayette's Beijing store, opened in 2013, enjoyed a 15 per cent increase in turnover to around 100 million euros in the first half of the year, Mr Houze said.