FNAC finds a new home in Galéries Lafayette

Two emblematic Perpignan department stores are having to join forces in a bid to survive as online sales sky rocket.

FNAC, an abbreviation of Fédération nationale d’achats (national purchasing federation), is a French chain specialising in culture and electronics. Founded in 1954, they have over 140 stores in France, not to mention many more abroad!

However, in the face of increasing online sales, in particular on sites such as Amazon, the Perpignan store will be closing its doors for good this summer, downsizing to the basement floor of its competitor, the Galéries Lafayette.

Fortunately FNAC’s 36 employees will all be moving with the company but nonetheless it remains a sad moment for the listing building whose impressive dome proudly looks over place Catalogne.

A bit of history

Originally built in 1905, the building rose up from the recently demolished ramparts to house the Aux Dames de France department store.

Full of the latest fashions and products from Paris, it symbolised France’s modernity, an early step towards the liberation of women and, of course, big business.

Until the late 1970s, it was exactly that. One of the most prosperous businesses in the town, FNAC employed over 300 people during the boom years of the 50s and 60s. However, over the next 10 years, the business suffered losses, passing through the hands of various owners until it eventually closed its doors in 1989.

It remained locked up and deteriorating  for 20 years, until, in 2000, the Mairie of Perpignan decided to buy the building. The following year, FNAC took on the lease and invested €10 million in works to restore the building to its former glory.

Once again, the building grew to become a Perpignan institution. 2,000m² of shop over 3 levels, with escalators rising up, seemingly to the sky because of the beautiful glass dome. Culture lovers of all ages would browse the book shelves, ogle the technology or book tickets for the hottest shows in town.

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But now that FNAC are being forced to set up shop elsewhere, what will become of the historic building? Rumours have it that certain international clothing giants have already shown an interest but for now, the future remains uncertain.

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