|Founded||Paris, France (November 3, 1865)|
|Founder(s)||Jules Jaluzot and Jean-Alfred Duclos|
|Area served||Andorra; Ginza, Tokyo; Jeddah, Sudia Arabia; Seoul, South Korea; Kuala Lumpur; Singapore; Denver, Colorado,|
|Parent||Divine Investments SA|
Printemps (French for “Spring”, as in the season) was founded in 1865, by Jules Jaluzot and Jean-Alfred Duclos. The store was designed by noted architects Jules and Paul Sédille and opened at the corner of Le Havre and Boulevard Haussmann, in Paris, France on 3 November 1865. The building was greatly expanded in 1874, and elevators (then a great novelty) from the 1867 Universal Exposition were installed. Rebuilt after a fire in 1881, the store became the first to use electric lighting, in 1888. (Customers could observe the workings of the power plant behind a glass wall.) It was also one of the first department stores with direct subway access, the Metro being connected in 1904.
The policies of Printemps revolutionized retail business practices. The store marked items with set prices and eschewed the haggling based on customer appearance that had previously been standard in retail shopping. Like other grand magasins (literally “big store,” department store) Printemps used the economies of scale to provide high quality goods at prices that the expanding middle-classes could afford. They also pioneered the idea of discount sales to clear out dated stocks, and later the use of window models to display the latest fashions. Printemps was noted for its branding innovations as well, handing out bouquets of violets on the first day of each Spring and championing the new Art Nouveau style, with its nature inspired motifs.
In 1904, a near collapse of the business led to the resignation of Jules Jaluzot, who was succeeded by Gustave Languionie who the following year announced the construction of a second store. This location, designed by architect Rene Binet, opened five years later and is famously dominated by a glass domed hall 42 meters in height, and a noted Art Nouveau staircase. (Removed in 1955.) The first store outside of Paris was opened in 1912 in Deauville. Peter Laguionie, son of Gustave took the helm of the store in 1920, rebuilding it after another large fire in 1921. In 1931, Printemps created the discount chain Prisunic. By 1970 there were 23 Printemps locations and 13 Prisunic discount outlets. The oil-price driven French economic crisis of the early 1970s significantly threatened Printemps business model. In response, the firm is transformed into a limited corporation, with controlling interest acquired by the Maus Frères Group. Led by Jean-Jacques Delort the firm embarks on a turnaround strategy, creating specialty stores and brands (such as Armand Thierry clothing) and branching out into retail areas such as food and mail. In the 1980s, the brand went global, opening stores in Japan, Istanbul, Jeddah, Dubai, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
Current Operations and Finances
The flagship Printemps store is located on Boulevard Haussmann in the IXe arrondissement of Paris along with other well-known department stores like Galeries Lafayette. There are other Printemps stores in Paris and throughout France. The store has opened branches outside France, in locations including Andorra, the Ginza shopping district in Tokyo, and Jeddah.
However, the franchises in Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore which opened in 1980s, and the one in Taipei which opened in 1993 are closed, as is the only North American branch in Denver, Colorado, which had opened in 1987.
Printemps was previously owned by the PPR group, the parent company of Gucci and FNAC. The figures of the Four Seasons on the façade were sculpted by French sculptor Henri Chapu. Jaluzot was replaced as owner in 1900 by Gustave Laguionie, after the business came close to collapse. In the early 20th century, the building was then extended along the Boulevard Haussmann by architect René Binet in an art nouveau style. The building burned down, and its interior was rebuilt in the 1920s.
A remarkable feature of the Haussmann store is an elaborate cupola above the main restaurant in the store, installed during the 1923 reconstruction. In 1939, to avoid the risk that it would be destroyed in bombing attacks, the cupola was dismantled and stored at Clichy. It was restored in 1973 by the grandson of its original designer, using plans that had been kept in the archives of the family business. In 1975, the façade and cupola of the building were registered as historical monuments. Their slogan, invented in 1996, is "Au Printemps, nous avons des vêtements!", which is sung as a catchy jingle on advertisements.
Printemps and its subsidiaries were acquired in 1991 by François Pinault and merged with other holding into Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (and now PPR). The Printemps stores focus on beauty, lifestyle, fashion, accessories, and men's wear. In 1997 a complete renovation of the flagship store was completed. In 2006, PPR sold Printemps to the Italian Borletti group.
On 16 December 2008, the Paris department store Printemps Haussmann was evacuated following a bomb threat from the terrorist group FRA (Afghan Revolutionary Front). The demining services found five sticks of dynamite in the toilet of the store. The FRA claims this assassination attempt and demanded the withdrawal of 3,000 French soldiers deployed in Afghanistan.
On 31 July 2013, Divine Investments SA, a Qatari-controlled investment fund, announced it has bought Printemps. On 4 August 2013, labor organizations in France asked the Paris prosecutor’s office to open a preliminary inquiry into the sale, in response to a complaint from labor representatives. On 8 August 2013, a French court rejected the request to stop the sale.
- Camille Rey, Histoire du Printemps, 1865–1924 , mémoire de maîtrise, dir. Christophe Charle, Université Paris 1, 2004.
- Camille Rey, Histoire du Printemps, 1865–1924, mémoire de maîtrise, dir. Christophe Charle, Université Paris 1, 2004.
- Camille Rey, ibid.
- Clichy, Entrepôts du Printemps (French)
- Diderich, Joelle (31 July 2013). "Qatari Fund Completes Printemps Purchase". WWD. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- Diderich, Joelle (5 august 2013). "Paris Prosecutor Probes Printemps Sale". WWD. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
- Diderich, Joelle (8 August 2013). "French Court Rejects Bid to Block Printemps Sale". WWD. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
|Look up Printemps in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Printemps.|
- (English) Official site focusing on the flagship Paris store.
- (French) Groupe Printemps includes information on other stores.