Saint-Orens shopping center: the rage of traders in a deserted shopping mall

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More than 35% of the 110 stores in the Champs-Pinsons shopping center, in Saint-Orens de Gameville, are closed. And it’s not over yet. Inevitably, customers leave the shopping mall. In conflict with the owner, who claims that the rent is sometimes too high, the independent businessmen are sounding the alarm. However, with two small glimmers: a project to reorganize the gallery, and the revival of the neighboring hypermarket.

Located on the Allée des Champs-Pinsons, the shopping mall in Saint-Orens shopping center has been gray for years. The list of closed businesses continues to grow. There are now a good forty of them from 110 pitches.
Customers are upset. In front of the empty spaces, hidden by billboards, Justine, 24, and her grandmother Yvette, 73, whisper: “It hurts to see, the gallery is cold all these shops are closed” . For the young woman, “the gallery clearly lacks offers, I came here to shop at the Leclerc hypermarket, but there is almost nothing to do in the gallery. The big brands are leaving each other. If I need to shop, go I’m in Labège or downtown Toulouse”.

Rents from €23,000 to €90,000

Some operators are worried about their future. “Between 2018 and 2019, since Zara left the gallery, I experienced a 30% decrease in my turnover”, announced one of them. “For me, this is a 45% decrease from last year,” added one of his neighbors.
However, the rent claimed by the owner, the Klépierre group, remained unchanged, to the point that they were suffocating. Since the first incarceration, many independent businesses, although closed, have seen their rents continue. “We have no financial income, and yet we have been sent formal notices for unpaid rent” lamenting many tenants. Some refuse to pay rent or pay the amount they chose to reduce. “We do not understand some of the differences in the rent. The big signs, with the power of attraction, pay 23,000 € per year, others, smaller, it is almost 90,000 €” many independents are angry. They also regret to contact the manager of the shopping mall “difficult, even impossible”.

“They will kill the gallery”

“All the letters sent to our lawyers remain unanswered” indicated an angry businessman. “When we finally managed to see them and ask them questions, we did not receive any answers, they did not know anything. They killed the gallery! “.
The chosen do not remain inactive. On December 8, 2021, Brigitte Micouleau, Senator of Haute-Garonne, and the new Secretary of State for Rurality, Dominique Faure, at the time Mayor of Saint-Orens, met with the management of the Klépierre group, at its headquarters . Parisian. “A project must see the light of day about the shopping mall and its businesses”, explains Brigitte Micouleau. Last April, after a meeting via videoconference, he sent a new letter, which also went unanswered.
Contacted by La Dépêche du Midi, the management of the shopping mall indicated “to talk to the town hall, the Metropolis (and other actors) to imagine the evolutions of the Saint-Orens shopping center of tomorrow”. “If the project is more advanced, we will share it,” said Olivia Benoît, head of “public relations, crisis and special projects” at Klépierre. For her part, Brigitte Micouleau believes she knows “the possible consolidation of businesses as well as the closure of the west wing”. With hope: “It’s a beautiful and big gallery, with potential”.

Hope with the revival of Leclerc hypermarket

Like the independent stores, the Leclerc hypermarket is also a simple tenant of the Klépierre group. Sure of the site’s potential, Camille and Christophe Castillo took over the supermarket 6 months ago. Now, with their 470 employees, they show a certain confidence. “All of our teams have done a lot of work to transform the store. We have returned to the basics of the business. We have returned the universe of the Leclerc model, modernized the spaces, lowered our prices and improved the effort of promotions. Very nice development! The clients, who come from Saint-Orens and the whole Lauragaise countryside, understand our efforts. Within a month and a half, the attendance is increasing, and it is confirmed day- day. We have very positive feedback, people are telling us that something is happening,” the new director is happy.

A drive will open in ten days

The couple has no shortage of projects. Especially the opening of a drive adjacent to the store: “It will open on Monday, October 3, we have recruited fifty more employees”. Christophe Castillo seeks to collaborate with small independent entrepreneurs. “We are connected, there are beautiful stores, great potential. Many actors from the shopping mall tell us that we bring back their smiles”. It remains to be seen what the Klépierre group plans for a better future .

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