This article by The Economist (which you all know by now is a preferred publication), talks about what Abercrombie’s arrival in France means for the country being even more globalized and the controversy that globalization often sparks in France.
I completely agree with the last paragraph, cited below (and in bold), based on my experience in France. Many French love criticizing globalization but they also regularly consume global brands. Why is that? Is France anti-globalization or a fully globalized economy? In my opinion, it’s between both. You have world-renown French brands and increasingly global minded young graduates as well as wide adoption of Twitter, Facebook and other digital media, as described in detail by another Economist article.
But you also sometimes have protest and resistance against the arrivals of foreign chains. I certainly respect the right of small shop owners to operate and enjoy French culture, but the country will have to be even more open to the forces of globalization in order to be even more successful in the world economy.
France is indeed “a riddle in a mystery inside an enigma”. But I’m enjoying the ride.
France and globalisation
We’ll always have Paris
What the new Champs-Elysées says about France
Apr 28th 2011 | PARIS | from the print edition
A GIANT naked male torso towers over the lower end of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Or, rather, a black-and-white photograph of a male model’s glistening muscles is draped across the four-storey façade of a soon-to-open Abercrombie & Fitch store. The unveiling next month of the first French outlet for the American retailer, renowned for improbably toned, half-dressed sales assistants and hooded sweatshirts, will delight teenagers, bemuse parents—and confirm that France’s best-known avenue has gone global.
When the first majestic lines of trees were planted in the 17th century by André Le Nôtre, Louis XIV’s landscape architect, the Champs-Elysées was a shady walk. It has long since been built up and turned over to shops, cafés and offices. But the avenue still has special meaning, both as an embodiment of French elegance and as a stage for displays of national pride and military might. Unlike London’s Bond Street or New York’s Fifth Avenue, the Champs-Elysées is where soldiers march, tanks roll and planes fly past in the annual Bastille Day parade every July 14th.
These days, though, it is getting hard to find much that is French on the Champs-Elysées, besides a few cinemas, car showrooms and luxury brands. International chains such as H&M (Swedish) and Tommy Hilfiger (American) have opened big stores, joining other foreign implants like Zara (Spanish), Virgin Megastore (British), Disney, McDonald’s and Gap (all American). Even Britain’s Marks & Spencer, which quit Paris a decade ago, is coming back soon, bravely hoping to sell women’s clothes and English sandwiches on the Champs-Elysées.
Plenty of Parisians are dismayed. Earlier this year, owing to soaring rents that make the Champs-Elysées the world’s fourth most expensive shopping street, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, a property firm, the post office closed its doors. “It will no longer be anything but a clothing street,” sniffed Lyne Cohen-Solal, a Paris councillor. A few years ago the town hall unsuccessfully appealed to the courts to block H&M’s arrival. “The Champs-Elysées is mythical,” declared François Lebel, mayor of the local borough. “The image of France is at stake.”
Like their politicians, the French always sound defiantly anti-globalisation. In polls they are far more hostile to free markets than Germans, Chinese or Russians. Yet when it comes to buying or eating foreign stuff, they are as enthusiastic. France is one of the most profitable markets for McDonald’s. Judging by the dress code of French teenagers, there will be long queues outside Abercrombie & Fitch—though whether to buy the hooded tops or to eye up the sales staff may be another question.
According to BBC News, famous British retailer Marks and Spencer is set to return to France this year, after a 10 year absence. They will open a 15,000 square foot store on the Champs-Elysées later this year. Article below.
1 April 2011 Last updated at 08:20 GMT
Marks and Spencer to return to French retail market
Marks and Spencer has announced it is to re-enter the French retail market, 10 years after shutting down all its European stores.
The company said it would open a 15,000 square foot store on the Champs-Elysées in Paris later this year.
M&S also said it was in talks with its partner SSP to launch a number of its Simply Food stores, under franchise, in Paris.
The retailer is also planning to launch an international online service.
M&S closed all its European stores in 2001 in order to focus on its core UK business.
“Marks and Spencer has great brand awareness here in France and a place in customers’ hearts,” said Marc Bolland, Marks and Spencer’s chief executive.
The new French store and website are expected to open ahead of the Christmas trading period.
M&S is the UK’s largest clothing retailer with a significant presence in the food market.
The BBC reported on this unique event staged to raise awareness for farming and agriculture. The New York Times as well. As a communications professional, I can only imagine the organization that is going into this. Unfortunately I’ll be unable to visit but for those who do go, I’d be interested in hearing your impressions of this incredible exhibit.
French farmers turn Champs-Elysees into huge farm
One of Paris’s main thoroughfares, the Champs-Elysees, has been covered in earth and turned into a huge green space in an event staged by young French farmers.They want to highlight their financial problems, caused by falling prices for agricultural produce. Plants, trees and flowers were brought in by lorry overnight to transform the avenue into a long green strip.
More than a million people are expected to visit over the next two days.The event, which cost 4.2m euros (£3.6m; $5.3m) to stage, has been organised by the French Young Farmers (Jeunes Agriculteurs) union over the holiday weekend in France….
….Only in France are you ever likely to see such a monumental mobilisation of creativity and resources, all in the cause of that beloved but beleaguered figure: the French farmer, says the BBC’s Hugh Schofield in Paris.
Overnight, 8,000 plots of earth have been brought into central Paris, and on Sunday morning, from the Arc de Triomphe down, the Champs-Elysees is one vast green space.
Some 150,000 plants have been installed – including 650 fully grown trees – representing agricultural produce from the marshes of the Camargue to the plains of Picardy, our correspondent adds. Visitors will be able to buy boxes of the earth for their own gardens.