Zalando, Europe's leading online fashion platform, has decided to strengthen its presence in France by opening a new logistics center in Paris Region, which will be operational by the end of 2024. A €300 million investment with the creation of approximately 2,000 new jobs. Interview with Laura Toledano, Managing Director France at Zalando.
Can you tell us about Zalando, its activities in France and your role within the company?
Zalando is a leading online platform for fashion in Europe. Founded in Berlin in 2008, it offers an A to Z fashion experience to over 50 million active customers in 25 countries, with apparel, shoes, accessories and beauty products. Zalando has been present in France since 2011. Today, France is one of its key and high potential markets.
In order to get closer to French customers and to establish a solid and sustainable logistics base, Zalando has decided to strengthen its presence in France by opening a new logistics center in Paris Region, which will be operational by the end of 2024. A €300 million investment with the creation of approximately 2,000 new jobs.
As Managing Director for Zalando in France, I am responsible for the overall strategy and business development in France. With my team, I develop and execute the strategy in order for Zalando to be the number one fashion website in France. It's not only about winning new customers, but about fully satisfying our French customers by offering them unlimited inspiration from French and international brands. When the French think of fashion, they have to think first of Zalando. In 2023, we want to continue our growth in France, and offer our customers and partners the best experience.
Can you tell us about the new site in Montereau-sur-le-Jard?
Our vision and strategy are clear: we want to be the Starting Point for Fashion and we are investing in France to achieve our ambition. This major investment for Zalando in France illustrates our ambition to get closer to our French customers and establish a solid and sustainable logistics base. The new site will allow us to offer our French customers faster (shorter shipping and delivery times) and more convenient deliveries, thereby continuously improving our offer to customers. A genuine technological showcase for e-commerce and fashion logistics, the future logistics site in Montereau-sur-le-Jard will be Zalando's main logistics interface in France.
What led Zalando to set up in Paris Region? Why this Region? And what are your future plans?
Various criteria come into play when setting up a logistics facility, but in this case, three main elements seduced Zalando in the choice of Montereau-sur-le-Jard: first of all, its location (close to the A5 interchange, the Colissimo site, the proximity to our customers, the employment catchment area). Secondly, the size of the 49 acre site. Lastly, this remarkable project was made possible thanks to the collaboration and support of all the political and economic stakeholders in the Region (in particular Paris Region, the Choose Paris Region and Business France agencies, which have supported this project from the outset), under the impetus of the Melun Val de Seine urban area and the municipality of Montereau-sur-le-Jard.
How would you describe the e-commerce and retail sector in Paris Region?
Because of its geographical location and its vitality, Paris Region has a strong potential for the e-commerce sector and particularly for retail. The density of the territorial network allows for a quick and easy connection with our other European logistics sites, and also allows us to be closer to our French customers.
How does Zalando contribute to the sustainable development objectives of Paris Region?
Made by GEMFI (GICRAM Group), the future distribution center will have a total surface area of 1,506,947 sqare feet, including 135,625 sq. ft. of office and social space, and 17,868 sq. ft. of terraces. The center is aiming for BREEAM® Excellent certification for the materials used, waste management, and water and energy consumption. The building will be equipped with a photovoltaic power plant on the roof that will cover up to 100% of its equipable surface and will not use any fossil energy. The installation of solar panels on the roof will provide up to 50% of the site's electricity needs. As a key partner, GEMFI has helped us in particular on how to work vertically, by proposing a multi-story building. While this requires high-tech intralogistics, it allows for a response to the challenge of reducing land consumption in France.
Finally, since Zalando is particularly concerned with integrating the site into its local environment, over 80 very tall (33 feet) adult trees will be planted to create a green visual perspective from the village of Montereau-sur-le-Jard. The immediate proximity of the Coliposte site should mean about 40 less trucks on the road each day.
What are your recruitment prospects? How would you describe the talent in the Region?
In the past, our logistics network has allowed for the creation of jobs that have strengthened or had a positive impact on the local economy. In Montereau-sur-le-Jard, too, we hope to have a positive impact by investing in the region; by working with local partners for the construction, by generating employment or activity during the construction phase, and by allowing for the creation of jobs by a 3PL for the site's operation once it is up and running.
We anticipate that our investment will lead to the creation of approximately 2,000 jobs for an on-site third-party logistics provider in France, including engineers and technicians to handle the automated machines. Local employment will also benefit from the construction, maintenance and daily operations of the site. At this stage, it is still too early to provide more information on the recruitment process, but we are proud to support Paris Region's economic development.
What are Zalando's future plans in Paris Region?
Currently, this project has our full attention and we are fully focused on it. The construction work, which began in April 2022, should be completed in 2023 (building construction and roof). In 2024, we will proceed with the installation of the interior fittings and begin the gradual commissioning, with the site fully operational in Q3/Q4 2025.
What 3 words would you choose to describe Paris Region?
Attractive, essential, innovative !
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