Is it too much to hope that Galeries Lafayette might open a store in my hometown? Outside of France, it has branches in Beijing, Berlin, Casablanca, Dubai, Jakarta and New York, so why not Brighton? It’s just what the city needs.
What’s more, the perfect home for it has become available. The Brighton Hippodrome is due to be redeveloped to become a shopping centre, restaurant and cinema complex.
Since it was built in 1897, it’s been a theatre, circus, ice rink and bingo hall, but it closed seven years ago. It would make a brilliant site for the UK launch of the French store.
What makes it particularly appropriate is its intricately patterned dome above the auditorium – reminiscent in style of both Brighton’s Royal Pavilion and Galeries Lafayette’s flagship store (pictured) on Boulevard Hausmann in Paris.
Brighton badly needs another upmarket retailer. At present, Debenhams is the only department store in the city. A few years back, Harvey Nicholls was in talks to open a store near the clock tower, but Asda’s clothing arm, George, took the space instead. When that closed, TK Maxx moved in.
Even if there isn’t enough space for a full-size Galeries Lafayette, perhaps we could have a menswear-only store, like the ones in Bordeaux or Paris? I love their own brand and always manage to find something perfect for the season every time I visit – and at a very reasonable price. Last time, back in May, I found a royal blue linen shirt, which always makes me look rather tanned.
I can’t promise to make a Brighton branch of the store profitable single-handedly, but I’d be happy to give it my best shot.