Return on investment for Bernard Arnault with the inauguration of the new  department store “La Samaritaine” by the French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday evening, marking the culmination of a 16-year renovation process that promises to galvanize shopping and tourism in the centre of Paris as the city emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Oh la la!” the French leader exclaimed as he walked into the painstakingly restored Art Nouveau building, where 700 employees lined along the stairs and balconies greeted him with loud cheers. Will we be back to the 18th century when staff belonged to the Lord? It looks like Selfridges serie to follow on Netfilix

He praised Arnault and his group for their “relentless” commitment to the project, noting that none of it would have been possible without teamwork. Now LVMH is betting that its 750 million-euro investment will pay off, despite the continued absence of tourists, which are the lifeblood of DFS, the travel retail division which operates the store.

“This project would not have been possible if we didn’t have a long-term vision for our investments,” Arnault, who is chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH, said in his speech. “I believe that only a family-run group could have shouldered such an investment with no return for more than 15 years.”