After a four-month-long facelift, Grand Optical, the premium retail banner of the GrandVision group, has unveiled a new store layout and a new shopping experience for its 800-square-meter flagship store on Paris' Avenue des Champs-Elysées, which is normally visited by 2,000 people per day, including many foreign tourists.

They are attracted by huge shop windows dedicated to the Chanel, Dior and Gucci collections. Large images are affixed to the black and white walls inside. Customers can get a virtual tryout of the spectacles of their choice over the internet, sharing it with friends, before visiting the store and book an appointment for the fitting. In the sports section of the three-level flagship store, they can get a virtual reality experience of downhill skiing with a pair of goggles.

Two rooms have been set up upstairs to fit contact lenses and to take the measurements of their eyesight, using new refraction equipment developed by Visionix on an exclusive basis for a while.

The new concept has already been applied to nearly 40 other Grand Optical stores in France. Over the next two years, it will be rolled out to the rest of the network, which counts a total of 209 doors in the country, two-thirds of them directly operated by the company, which is controlled by the Hal investment fund. Including also the lower-priced Générale d'Optique chain and Solaris, the group's chain of sunglass stores, the French market represented last year 17 percent of GrandVision's total sales of €3.5 billion.

GrandVision operates Grand Optical stores also in some other European countries. GrandVision says the merchandising and other operations are managed locally.

Meanwhile, GrandVision France has indicated its intention to deploy hearing aids counters in some of its main stores operating under the Grand Vision banner and the lower-priced Générale d'Optique sign, starting with about 20 points of sale in 2018. It will thus be joining other major French retail chains like Optic 2000, Krys and Alain Afflelou.