CULTURE

Fnac opens its first store at The Mall

Boasting a «new kind of consumerism» where faithful customers feel free to browse through books, CDs and a wealth of electronic devices, the Greek arm of the French chain Fnac has just opened its doors at Maroussi’s The Mall Athens complex. The 2,200-square-meter Athens store is the French company’s 117th – the company’s Greek plans include the development of eight stores by 2010. Established in France in 1954, Fnac currently operates in nine countries and is part of the retail giant Pinault-Printemps-Redoute. Globetrotting fans might find the Athenian outlet relatively small compared to larger Fnac havens, yet company executives note that the new store carries more products than a medium-sized French equivalent, for instance. At The Mall, Fnac’s book department features 40,000 titles (and a capacity of 300,000 to order); the music and cinema section (through CDs and DVDs) offers 60,000 titles, while customers will be able to order from a 400,000-item inventory. Television sets, home cinema, DVD readers and other electronic products cover an area of 3,000 product codes, while the information technology and mobile telephony section (including computers, notebooks, software, MP3 players and so on) carries 5,000 product codes. Faced with fierce competition – from long-established local bookstores on the one hand and electric appliance giants such as Kotsovolos or new entry Media Markt on the other – the secret of Fnac’s success, according to its management, is based on a strategy of constructing long-lasting ties with its customers. This is achieved through broad selection and choice, combinations of best sellers and new titles and products, competitive prices, expert and friendly advice from staff members (who are not on commission from individual suppliers) as well as interactive stores where clients enjoy a sense of freedom. Promoting culture is another big story here – one which became obvious in Athens right from the start: Author Evgenia Fakinou and singer Haris Alexiou acted as «godmothers» on inauguration day, marking the beginning of Fnac’s multifaceted events in Greece.