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The beauty of a room

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Réponse Group has become the undisputed French market leader for interior design solutions for private and commercial customers. In addition, the company serves public institutions and facilities, implementing stunning solutions that add a new facet to new and historical buildings. “We are active in the retail sector, we work on unique sites, and we are approached for complete transformations of public spaces, including train stations and office complexes,” points out General Director Christophe Gellé.

Mr. Gellé has been working for the company for 15 years now. Before he took over as general director, he had worked as the company’s technical director. Réponse Group, which was founded in 1986 and has been owned by the investment fund Abenex as the main shareholder since 2008, has gone from strength to strength in the last three decades. Today, the group consists of four subsidiaries that are all experts in their own fields, working together in close cooperation: Contract is an Italian furniture and fittings manufacturer, while Generale d’Agencement provides luxury home design and building solutions.

HP 84 is a specialist in cultural and heritage site refurbishment, and Réponse is the leader in network and franchise development. “We have come a long way to boast such an impressive organizational structure and diverse project portfolio. However, it is Réponse Group as such that makes all the difference in the interior design market,” points out Mr. Gellé. “We are approached by all the large brands and chains, who ask us to realize and implement their design concepts. And our feedback to date suggests that we have done that most successfully.”

Indeed, Réponse Group has become the expert for interior point of sale design solutions for many prominent names. Longchamp is just one of the exclusive brands on the long list of references. The company is the go-to designer who has all the experience, expertise and manpower, turning retail spaces into true gems. “We are responsible for the design plan following a thorough analysis of the projected construction. We create and analyze all technical specifications and develop a precise schedule in order to oversee the entire implementation.

It is of extreme importance to keep a close eye on budgets and deadlines as they are crucial factors for the retail business,” adds Mr. Gellé. “At no point in the refurbishment or interior decoration process can a negative impact on the ongoing business be detected.” For the retail business, Réponse Group takes on the entire furniture production, complete with concept, design, assembly and quality control. Many of its projects are turnkey solutions, comprising the fields of architecture and engineering, amongst others.

“We operate various offices throughout France to be near our customers and their projects. We can accompany a large domestic player throughout the country, as we have employees working at different locations.” Réponse Group boasts some really impressive figures. Apart from operating seven sites in France and throughout Europe, it employs a workforce of 270 specialists, among them some 35 certified ‘compagnon’ carpenters, 28 architects, all government- and DESA-certified, including interior design architects, as well as 34 engineers.

“Our team ensures that every project is realized to the highest standards, falling back on the experience of our on-site workers,” points out Mr. Gellé. Every year, Réponse Group is responsible for about 850 projects, working together with 330 Réponse label subcontractors. Last year, the group of companies generated a turnover of 83 million EUR, with France being the most important market, generating 56 million EUR alone, followed by Italy with another 27 million EUR.

“We serve customers from various backgrounds. When it comes to commercial customers, we offer interior design solutions for retailing, unique sites and public spaces. The B2B segment accounts for 51 million EUR, and museums make up another 1.5 million EUR. In addition, we serve private customers, earning another four million EUR in the segment,” states Mr. Gellé. Réponse is proud to serve such a diverse customer base. Today, the B2B segment as well as public institutions still account for the majority of the company’s projects.

However, Réponse Group serves B2C customers, as well. “This segment makes up 10% of our activities. We designand furnish chalets and apartments with a budget range of two to three million EUR. On the other hand, the B2B segment comprises 90% of our projects. We serve retail brands as well as restaurant chains. One important customer with huge future potential is Primark, for which we have just completed the first store in France. Other brands include Benetton, Illy Café and others,” points out Mr. Gellé.

One of the latest challenges was Réponse Group’s work for the Musée de Jouet. “We have at hand the necessary expertise and competence to manage the entire building site,” adds Mr. Gellé. “This is really one of our key competences.” Cost optimization is one important issue for the company and its customers alike. “We can fall back on reliable suppliers and are able to organize the workflow of all parties involved. This helps us to keep control of project costs,” stresses Mr. Gellé.

With 270 employees, Réponse Group is able to take on large projects, and it is currently positioning itself as a partner for large-scale projects. “While in former years, we handled budgets ranging from 150,000 EUR for retail spaces of 150 m2, we are now managing projects between one and ten million EUR easily, as we did, for instance, for the department store Printemps.” Réponse Group is satisfied with its latest development in the world of interior design. It is determined to expand its corporate success in France and beyond.

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