Luxury, tourists, the oldest "mall" in France reinvented at 50

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Designed 50 years ago when e-commerce did not exist, one of the three oldest shopping centers in France, Cap 3000 near Nice, relies on luxury and tourism to reinvent itself in a rapidly changing sector.

When he opened in 1969 the same year as Parly 2, near Paris, and Englos, in the North, Cap 3000 marks a revolution in trade in France. It is modeled on the "malls" to the American, these supermarkets established in the suburbs with gigantic car parks.

Fifty years later, internet commerce has passed by, consumer trends have evolved and competition has intensified.

Owned by the property company Altarea Cogedim, Cap 3000 is now based on a model combining shopping, leisure, fitness and catering. With an asset: a seaside location.

On the shopping side, the ambition is to manage the shopping center like a Paris department store and it is no coincidence that the former number two of Printemps Haussmann, Felipe Goncalves was recruited as director nine months ago.

It targets 40% of foreign customers, against 20% today, thanks to the millions of tourists transported by the nearby airport of Nice Côte d'Azur, the most international of France after Paris. France's second largest tourist city, Nice attracts five million visitors every year, including many Asian and Gulf country nationals.

Cap 3000 has set up a valet and translation service, while facilitating "tax-free" procedures.

"We have a loyal clientele, many partnerships with hotels and a real international strategy with teams that make the Cap 3000 brand known in Russia, Ukraine, China …", underlines Mr. Goncalves.

Altogether, an envelope of 650 million euros, that Altarea Cogedim gives itself seven years to make profitable, was invested in Cap 3000 to renovate, embellish and especially, double the number of shops, which will reach 300 next year, on a total area of ​​65,000 to 135,000 m2.

– "More emotion and wonder" –

Why such gigantism as new shopping centers have sprung up or will come out of the ground, like the controversial "Open Sky" project in the Sophia Antipolis pine forest near Nice?

"Cap 3000 is historically well used by the people of Nice but size is important to establish and maintain its position of reference in a very competitive environment", analyzes Christian Dubois of the real estate consulting firm Cushman and Wakefield.

"This is a significant example of the shopping centers of this generation, all of which are renovated, expanded, because it partly finances the renovation," he adds.

"It is true that there is a proliferation of shopping centers around, and that they are trying to reinvent themselves because they are asking questions in relation to digitalization but we are rather confident," says the director of Cap 3000 .

"The idea is more emotion and wonder, not just an alignment of shops," he adds, detailing the investments made in five years.

He is delighted to have one of the rare stores in Europe of the Victoria's Secret lingerie brand, a virtual aquarium, a gym with a sea view. The watchmaker-jeweler Ferret at Cap 3000 "has expanded, and is already the second point of sale of Rolex in France ", underlines Mr. Goncalves.

A large Monoprix where lobsters dabble in the water at the fishmonger's department opened this summer. At the butcher's department, the presentation evokes a jewelery shop.

In contrast, Primark, a low-priced clothing brand listed in the nearby Polygone Riviera shopping center opened in 2015 at 10 km, was refused, so as not to overshadow the luxury showcases housed along a " corso "expensive paving and decor Murano glass.

In fifty years, the place of the car in Cap 3000 – which owes its name to its 3,000 parking spaces of the time, is still important. The car park has even been expanded to 4,200 places, pending a possible tram stop. Not before 2025.

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