Toulouse. Three brands are closing in quick succession, is the bubbly rue Saint-Rome still attractive?

Face à face, les boutiques Xiaomi (à gauche) et The Kase ont toutes deux fermé ces dernières semaines rue Saint-Rome, à quelques dizaines de mètres du Capitole

Face to face, the Xiaomi (left) and The Kase stores have closed in recent weeks on rue Saint-Rome, a few dozen meters from the Capitole (©Guillaume Laurens / Toulouse News)

Main commercial artery of Toulousethe Holy Rome Street Does it still have its former glory? Or has it lost its bubbling activity since the renovation of rue Alsace-Lorraine ten years ago reshuffled maps of pedestrian flows in Toulouse’s hyper-centre? While in this summer of 2022, no less than three national brands have closed their businesses in rapid succession downstairs, on the Capitol side, is this necessarily to be seen as a sign of the state of street commerce? We take stock.

The Kase and its telephone accessories hang

At number 46 of the street, the kase closed in June. “It is with emotion that we announce the final closure of your store,” the phone accessories store wrote on its window. “Thank you for your empathy towards our team and your loyalty during all these years.” For any information, the brand refers to its customer service, and indicates that its activity… continues online.

Created by the founders of Pixmania, this national specialist in mobile phone cases, which had taken the risk of buying The Phone House brand, had ended up in forced liquidation last spring… A few weeks later, the company, which offered smartphones and accessories for laptops and tablets, has closed its doors 43 stores definitively “Our stores in France unfortunately have not survived the impacts of the health crisis that we have gone through”, can be read on its website.

The Kase closed at the beginning of summer, rue Saint-Rome in Toulouse
The Kase closed at the beginning of summer, rue Saint-Rome in Toulouse (©Guillaume Laurens / Toulouse News)

More network for Xiaomi, the giant of connected objects

At the end of August, at number 45 of the street, just opposite The Kase, is the store xiaomi that he had lowered his metal curtains. A final closure here again for the only Toulouse brand of the Chinese giant of smartphones and connected objects, barely a year after its opening… The Chinese company is not, however, the SME on the corner, but the world number 3 in the smartphone market, behind the unstoppable Apple and Samsung, and the undisputed leader in the market for connected devices (vacuum cleaners, scooters, etc.).

Showing great ambitions in the European market, Xiaomi had decided to launch an “establishment strategy in the big cities” of France, he explained. yan Liu, French head of the firm, shortly before the opening of the Toulouse boutique. But this plan was cut short… The Pink City store was not managed directly by the manufacturer of low-cost connected objects, but by the company Tell Me, based in Alfortville (Val-de-Marne), which was put into liquidation on Tuesday, August 23. In the absence of buyers, this court decision resulted in the closure of the various Xiaomi Stores managed by this company, throughout France.

End of applause for the Xiaomi store in Toulouse, one year after its arrival in the city center.
End of applause for the Xiaomi store in Toulouse, one year after its arrival in the city center. (©Thibaut Calatayud / Toulouse News)

Jennyfer has definitely closed shop

More surprising: the giant of prêt-à-porter jennifer also folded shop. In the window of the store at number 36 on the street, the brand announces the color to its customers: “We found a store near you, to continue shopping at OKLM for the latest collaborations and new products”, and refers… to the Mall of Portet-sur-Garonne.

As for the reasons for this closure, contacted by tolosa news, the sign did not respond to our requests. But she still has to this day four other stores in the conurbation, everything in shopping centers… Is the clientele of hypermarkets more suitable for your activity?

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The Jennyfer store has just closed at the beginning of September 2022, rue Saint-Rome in Toulouse
The Jennyfer store has just closed at the beginning of September 2022, rue Saint-Rome in Toulouse (©Guillaume Laurens / Toulouse News)

“We have felt this transfer for years”, testifies Philippe Léon

But while the biggest brands set up shop on rue d’Alsace-Lorraine, rue Saint-Rome, which now attracts youth shops, discount stores and cheap restaurants, still retains all its attractive ? President of the Federation of craftsmen, merchants and professionals of Toulouse, Philip Leon is not surprised by these developments, and describes a long-term trend with a slow “transfer” activity from rue Saint-Rome towards Alsace-Lorraine.

“The typology of brands that used to be rue Saint-Rome now has a clear tendency to set up shop on rue d’Alsace. We have been feeling this move for years… Customers on rue Saint-Rome, historically mid-range, are changing and becoming more popular. And given the evolution of the population that frequents this shopping street, the intermediate brands try to refocus elsewhere. Some have moved to rue d’Alsace-Lorraine, which at the same time has gone from being ‘a high-end to mid-range clientele…”

Philip LeonPresident of the Federation of craftsmen, merchants and professionals of Toulouse

For Philippe Léon, the number of visitors to rue Saint-Rome has clearly changed: “Today there are a younger clientele that a few years ago, with many students in little purchasing power.

Towards more entry-level stores?

Based on feedback from members of his federation, he says, “Customers using this hub today are no longer completely brand-specific, and they certainly want to be more conducive to entry level businesses. The President of the Merchants is not, however, not worried for the future of this busy street… if the shopkeepers are capable of adapting their activity:

“Saint-Rome street, located on the Roman corso, has always been and will continue to be a main axis to cross the hyper center of Toulouse. It is still a very nice street, always full of people! The population flow is still there, but you need an offer in line with the type of consumer present…”

Philip Leon

“In this street there are still many chains, and few independents”, analyzes the president of the merchants. “Nowadays, however, cheap clothes can be found everywhere, including on the Internet. The street offer must adapt to a new type of consumer”.

While some iconic brands, such as levi’s, shoe drawer and consorts, they continue to do well, it is now mainly the low-cost stores that have established themselves: claire Where Normal, for example, they are a resounding success… “This is the typical case of the adapted store”, promises the president of the merchants, not surprised by the few “adjustments” in progress in the existing signs.

“The street for young customers is Saint-Rome! »

Rue Saint-Rome Figure, and at the very popular boutique checks levi’s for two decades, brand fridman is much more moderate: “People are happy to describe the streets to you by parking them in particular typologies! But I have been working there for 30 years, it has always been a very young street, very dynamic and one of the busiest in Toulouse”, says the one who is undoubtedly the oldest merchant on the street.

Point out that the store Teddy Smith closed after 15 years of activity in Toulouse, was not rue Saint-Rome, but rue Saint-Antoine-du-T. As for rue d’Alsace, “the signals have become poor, and are you sure there are still so many people? »

Like Philippe Léon, he acknowledges that “brands attract customers”, but maintains that attractive he is always in good shape.

“The street dedicated to a young clientele in Toulouse is rue Saint-Rome! Fashion brands seeking (Courir, JD Sports, le Temps des Cerises, Levi’s, etc.) Rome, whose commercial appeal is undeniable.”

brand fridmanLevi’s manager and oldest merchant on rue Saint-Rome

“Having said that, it is obvious that the brands that are present also bring customers that correspond to them”, continues Marc Fridman. ” Y cobblers or jeansners train a fairly young clientele…” Thus, it describes a street that is more “trendy” than ever, with stores that exhibit “low and medium range products”, but which have “adapted to impoverishment » of your clientele.

In 2021, Levi’s had its “best year” in 21 years on rue Saint-Rome!

In his Levi’s store, at number 23, the typical customer profile is quite disparate… “We don’t have a typical clientele: we receive young people sensitive to the product of course, but also couples with children, people in their forties who come to please , the grandmothers who come to pay for their grandchildren’s jeans…” And according to him, the trade continues Looking good:

“The year 2021 was the best year of our existence, in 21 years!”

brand fridman

If the health crisis has been “a disaster” for many merchants, observes Marc Fridman “rather fast turnover since the end of Covid”, with “a good will that does not remain empty for long”. As everywhere in Toulouse, Saint-Rome merchants now have to deal with the purchasing power crisis, and this summer they suffered from a more localized problem: Repetitive work in the pipes.

And if the heat wave didn’t help merchants either, “we find good activity as soon as temperatures drop, like this Wednesday,” observes the Levi’s manager, who points out that “activity has been very sustained during the liquidation.”

“Today it is difficult for everyone, but it is more linked to geopolitical, climatic or economic phenomena than to any structural Change, supports Marc Fridman. Furthermore, president of the Occitanie region clothing federation, he does not see a more significant metamorphosis here than in other places: “Rue Saint-Rome is not immune to changes in commerce, online orders and power purchasing power of customers…”.

A picturesque street in Toulouse

To maintain the beauty of the street, work had been done a few years ago: the paving was redone in 2017 and “pedestrianization was reinforced with the installation of access blocks,” says Marc Fridman. “The city council has also put in place a video surveillance system.”

Filled with many shops, rue Saint-Rome has been for decades one of the main shopping streets from tolosa With the rich facades of its mansions and its commercial buildings built between 15me and nineteenthme centuries, in addition to its chapter towers, this street, as pedestrian as it is picturesque, is a pillar of the history and heritage of the Pink City, a stone’s throw from the Capitol.

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