LOUIS VUITTON, most unfortunate location for a store (Bucharest)_
CPP has anticipated even before opening that the JW Marriott shopping gallery would prove most unfortunate for the LOUIS VUITTON boutique in Bucharest, Romania. Today, almost 2 years from opening, the shopping gallery is 80% vacant, with Rolex, Franck Muller and Exclusive Brands (Dunhill, St Dupont, MontBlanc) the only remaining luxury brands within the gallery.
One by one, luxury brands such as GUCCI and ARMANI have confirmed they would not consider the JW Marriott gallery as a potential location. The reason for the state of the gallery is only partly due to crisis, the main reason being the lack of strategy of the owners of the hotel from the opening in 2001, with many compromise brands and stores opening and closing. The only criteira applied from the early days was the highest possible rent, without maintaining a luxury mix.
In spite of the empty gallery, Vuittons performances in Romania have exceeded expectations, most likely location becoming a purpose destination, while in most international capitals the Vuitton store is located within the center of the city within a high traffic area. Louis Vuitton have, unofficially confirmed, that the decision for the location was taken as a compromise, in 2007 (when agreement was signed) being the only appropriate and available location at that time. In 2007, rents on main high streets such as Calea Victoriei were at their peak, topping 200 euros/sqm and few spaces available. The same real estate challenge has come up in Sofia, Bulgaria and fortunately, Vuitton seems to have postponed opening to avoid same mistake.