Branded villages: why Languedoc missed the boat, undoubtedly definitely

Branded villages: why Languedoc missed the boat, undoubtedly definitely

Last center opened in France, Giverny, in the Paris suburbs, in a region where they are very numerous. MAXPPP – Leyla Vidal

Viaduc Village Aveyron, on the Larzac, is the ultimate failure to date of a creative project. There were several who never found consensus. And consumers are heading to our neighbors.

Six votes against. A project which "is not consistent with the objectives of the Scot", 6,000 m² signs "of a nature to further aggravate" the’important & quot;commercial fragility" of the catchment area, a land-consuming construction. The opinion of the national commercial development commission (CNAC), on July 27, 2023, on the Viaduc Village Aveyron brand center project, crushes each of its aspects, in a few undoubtedly definitive lines.

In the days that followed, while the mayor of La Cavalerie, where the contested outlet was to be created, François Rodriguez, said he was "disgusted& quot;, Emmanuelle Gazel, first magistrate of Millau, judges the decision "fair", Sébastien David, his alter ego saint-affricain, the saving esteem. She was by nature "to bring down all the work we are doing in our cities" to revitalize their hearts.

De facto, the prefect of Aveyron was hostile to it and "no one wanted it, summarizes André Deljarry. This project was not defended, the presidents of the chamber, me in Hérault, as in Aveyron, we have it fought. Our territory is not suitable for this."

Hérault, Gard or Aveyron

For twenty years, everyone who has tried to set up a brand village in Languedoc has failed. At the end of procedures and appeals, often. La Cavalerie is a project dating from 2004; there was Gallargues-le-Montueux between Gard and Hérault, two projects. And Montpellier, at the turn of the 2010s, Fournès, on the Gard side again, at the same period. So many failures and "other attempts, laughs Franck Verschelle, who does not didn't go very far. When asked, I explain the conditions for it to work and why it will never work."

The man knows what he is talking about, this field has been his for two decades; Fournès, failed in CNAC in 2013, was him. Two years before, Advantail, his company, built Nailloux Outlet Village, in Haute-Garonne. No more than 35 minutes from Toulouse, 50 from Carcassonne. "400 employees, 1.52 million visitors in 2023, including more than 320,000 during the summer", lists its director, Anne-Claude Silvain. A turnover up 2.3%.

Fournès, 350 jobs, a hundred shops, would have been 80 km from Montpellier, 20 from Nîmes, a hundred from Marseille. "Fournès, continues Franck Verschelle, was an extraordinary project, at the entrance to the region, fabulous tourist flows, near the highways . Miramas did it and the profit goes to the next region. The region missed the mark a bit at the time."

Branded villages: why Languedoc missed the boat, undoubtedly definitely

A territorial network which surrounds a center of France that is less dense in populations. FREE NOON – Sophie Wauquiez

Validated without recourse

By choosing his words, the entrepreneur mentions local support but "the political environment is a little more complex" of this stillborn file. This is one of the keys that has been systematically missing from Languedoc projects. The consensus.

Gallargues had Nîmes and Montpellier against him. As for Montpellier, then, if there there was a man who wore the Agglo, recalls François Delacroix, close collaborator of Georges Frêche for three decades, the reflection ended with his death. His successors, Mandroux and Saurel, abandoned it" and the idea of ​​the marque center at Odysseum, co-designed with Marques Avenue, will not work beyond the regrets of seeing "buyers slip away – sometimes 3,000 per week, by bus, at the time in Spain, in La Roca. We watch the trains go by", sighs the ex-civil servant.

We watch the trains go by

In Nailloux, elected officials sought to settle residents going to work in Toulouse, to create local employment in rural Lauragais. "They looked for projects, ours clicked", relates Franck Verschelle. Developed with the consular chambers, avoiding duplication with Toulouse commerce, integrating local brands, housing tourist office and intercommunal crèche, the file will be "validated without appeal"< /em>, points to the boss of Advantail. "It’is a matter of the balance of a territory", says André Deljarry, "it works when all the players meet upstream and agree", adds geographer Caroline Lamy, director of an office of ;specialized studies.

Nailloux has found this balance, recruiting more than 50% of its clientele "outside the department and up to Béziers", indicates Anne-Claude Silvain, when Miramas recovers the east of Hérault and the Gard, shrinking the space.

To make it work, says Franck Verschelle, "you have to be close to an urban area, whether there are a million inhabitants thirty, forty minutes away, two to three million at 1:30 or 2 hours away.&quot ; Let us add that unsold stocks are not infinite, that operators sign non-competition clauses with brands and that the era is no longer the addition of commercial space and, even if Idec has not officially given up on La Cavalerie, the place appears taken.

Inventory management and Agec law

"The outlet has never been so relevant, for brands and consumers", believes Franck Verschelle. Formerly the director of one of the giants of the sector, the Anglo-American McArthurGlen, the founder of Advantail has worked in this sector for more than twenty years, which he describes as < em>"niche market with strong specificities", the preserve of specialists.

"Our business is not to build and rent, it’s not a shopping mall. And that's why there is an operator." They are professionals in stock management and distribution, who certainly create centers like a promoter, but "manage them and make them work. We have a fairly strong management role in the brands. We go into the stores, we help them improve their stock in quantity and quality, their team, their POS, etc. We collect the daily turnover figures, we know when a store is in difficulty and we will try to help him work better, make more figures, improve customer service."

The operator has control tools – "customer satisfaction, mystery shoppers", cites Anne-Claude Silvain, the director of Nailloux Outlet Village -, to ensure that the brand is on track.

"Twenty years ago, stock consisted of products that were one year old. Today, there are sometimes eighteen collections in a year, from certain brands. Renewal is permanent" and destocking has become a component of their CSR policy, their social responsibility, and a response to the obligations of the Agec law, against waste and for the’ circular economy. "The outlet responds to the ban on companies destroying their overstocks. They need to sell off their unsold items", underlines Anne-Claude Silvain

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