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Will London fashion outlets benefit from Paris Olympic disruption?

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May 29, 2024
May 29, 2024

On the face of it, Paris is going to be the place to be this summer, as the French capital gears up to host the 2024 Summer Olympics from 26th July to 11th August.

The French fashion house Louis Vuitton is evidently optimistic about the increased financial takings it could generate as a result of the multi-sport event, having struck a premium partnership with the Olympics and produced trunks and medal cases to tie in with the games. 

Paradoxically, however, it looks like fashion businesses in a different major European city on the other side of the English Channel could actually have more to gain from Paris’s big moment.

As London Shopify Plus experts, we know how fashion outlets in the UK capital can prepare to take advantage of what could be a surprisingly lucrative opportunity.

Concerns that the Olympics could pose challenges for Parisian fashion retail   

London and Paris are similarly well-regarded cities in the fashion world. These cities are members of the “Big Four” fashion capitals, with the London and Paris Fashion Weeks major events on the calendar.

Still, there is good reason to believe that the Olympics could hinder — more than help — Paris in its attempts to attract well-heeled style aficionados as the games get underway. 

Months ago, Bénédicte Epinay, CEO of the luxury industry group Comité Colbert, told the French fashion news site WWD of the “danger that this will be a terrible period for business and culture”. 

He expressed particular concern that shoppers could struggle to reach stores in Paris’s high-end Golden Triangle shopping district due to overwhelming crowds of sports fans in the nearby area.

Then, there is the possibility that even when tourists are physically able to visit the retail outlets, they become too preoccupied with watching the Olympics action to actually do so. 

Could London fashion outlets see a meaningful uptick in trade during the Olympics? 

Although the stunning Champs-Élysées is renowned for its exclusive boutiques, some observers worry that many affluent tourists could decide against even attempting to visit them this summer, perhaps fearing that “the world’s most beautiful avenue” will become too congested. 

So, could these same style-conscious international travellers start turning their gazes towards London? It’s far from the only Paris alternative they could consider — not least as Milan has its own impressive fashion scene and, unlike London, also offers international tourists the enticing prospect of VAT-free shopping. 

Nonetheless, with Parisian hotels likely to temporarily increase their prices during the Olympics, and London having a well-oiled transport system enabling visitors to get around quickly and easily, your own locally based fashion outlet may be able to capture more than a few curious shoppers who haven’t passed through your doors previously. 

You could also ease the retail experience for those shoppers by bolstering your brick-and-mortar shop’s ecommerce arm. Our London Shopify Plus experts can help you prepare for potentially soaring levels of custom at your online store; please email to enquire to our team.

Photo by Alexander on Unsplash


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