Species protection for stationary retail?


Prime location at a low price: every retailer’s dream. Since 2004, this has been occurring regularly in Paris. Behind the idea is planning office, "Semaest". Small shops are intended to breathe life into "dead" quarters. Does this unusual project work?


Paris is different. While in most cities of the world only the very big players like Zara, H&M, Louis Vuitton or Gucci can afford a place in a prime location, in the centre of Paris there are a striking number of small shops. Cafés, bookshops and the corner Boulangerie also seem to survive. They characterize the cityscape and contribute to the charm of the town. How can they afford the rent? Thanks to the support of the city government.

In 2004, the Parisian city administration created the planning office "Semaest". The semi-publicly financed company buys up vacant shops in good locations and leases them to small and micro-enterprises at reasonable prices. The goal : to maintain the stationary retail trade and thus to revitalise neighbourhoods. Does the model really work - or is it just species conservation for a dead business model? 

Emmanuelle Hoss, managing director of "Semaest", will provide answers to these questions at the 70th International Retail Summit of the GDI. This year, the traditional conference is dedicated to the future of retail in the city. 

Find out more about the "Semaest" project and how Paris intends to protect the retail sector in this article: 

UrbAct, 24 June 2019: "Social media to strengthen local commerce: The case of the Semaest in Paris"