Is investing in France really such a bad idea?

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Is investing in France really such a bad idea?

With the bad press the French economy is having at the moment, I was prepared for the worst when I attended the French Investment briefing last week. But, I had no reason to worry at all, quite the opposite, actually. There are still good opportunities for cross-border investors.

Undeniably, everyone agrees that France does show a few economic challenges including a lingering recession, high unemployment and controversial taxation but it is important not to forget its strengths. France is the world’s 5th largest economy, has a low consumer debt, is the world’s leading tourist destination, has a high quality infrastructure and is well known for its expertise in high-end goods and services.

France is also welcoming exciting new projects such as Le Grand Paris, which is expecting to transform the city of Paris into a major metropolis. 200km of tube lines and 72 train stations will be built by 2013. Overall, the project is estimated to boost the economy, creating 250,000 jobs.

In the retail market, France and especially Paris, offers some good opportunities for luxury retailers. There is a new ‘golden triangle’ from Haussmann – Opera – Madeleine, alongsidethe two world famous department stores Printemps and Galeries Lafayette, providing a luxury offer. On Boulevard des Capucines, the new megastore, Bucherer dedicates 2,200sqm to luxury watches.

Moreover, closed since 2005, the iconic department store La Samaritaine, recently bought by LVMH, is being completely refurbished into a brand new and unique complex including retail, the ‘Le Cheval Blanc’ luxury hotel, offices and a nursery.

Finally, according to a recent study by Deloitte, Paris shares jointly with London the position as the most expensive city in the EU when it comes to property market. The cost per m2 is 8,300€, the cost for London is 10,000€.

So, if it is the right project in the right location, then it is definitely worth investing in France.

Charlotte Fougères, Account Manager

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