The almost certain departure of the Virgin Megastore from the Champs Elysées is part of the transformation of one of the world’s most famous shopping streets.
Although the books-to-music retailer did get 20 percent of its revenue from that one shop,it paid dearly to be there.
Sky-high rents mean that businesses like Virgin, as well as cinemas and restaurants, are being priced out of the central Paris avenue.
They are being replaced by those who cannot afford not to have a presence there, including international clothing chains and luxury goods shops.
In recent years, the Champs Elysées has been rising up the list of the world’s most expensive shopping streets and by some calculations is now the third highest priced.
Rents average 11,000 euros per square metre a year, meaning some are much higher.
For that, retailers get huge foot traffic – an estimated 30 million tourists a year.
There are other advantages, shops on the Champs Elysées can legally open on Sundays, and late into the evening, which is rare in France
However, the astronomical rents are causing concern among some Paris city officials who would like to see the French government regulate such commercial rents, worried that the character of the area is being lost because only international chains can afford to be there.