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Galeries Lafayette sees drop in foreign shoppers after Paris attacks

Chinese tourists look at Eiffel Tower souvenir at the Galeries Lafayette shopping center in Paris.
Chinese tourists look at Eiffel Tower souvenir at the Galeries Lafayette shopping center in Paris. Fred Dufour / AFP

France's Galeries Lafayette saw a 15-percent drop in foreign shoppers at its flagship Paris store in the first half of 2016 after the November terror attacks, the upscale chain said Wednesday.

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The decline worsened over the summer and into September, "reaching 20 percent" compared with the same period last year, CEO Nicholas Houze told a press briefing.

While July sales helped the figures, August "was a lot quieter... and September remains difficult," he said.

The January-to-June period saw a 5.9-percent drop in turnover for the chain, from 1.7 billion to 1.6 billion euros, Houze added.

Visitors from China, Taiwan and the United States normally account for half of the company's turnover.

But a string of terror attacks seems to have dented France's appeal among tourists, with the number of arrivals falling around 8 percent this year compared to 2015, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

Houze said he was confident that foreign shoppers would return, since "Paris is still a dream destination".

Meanwhile Galeries Lafayette's Beijing store, opened in 2013, enjoyed a 15-percent increase in turnover to around 100 million euros in the first half of the year, Houze said.

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