(Corrects paragraph 11 to take out Casablanca)
* In talks to open 5 new stores abroad by 2020
* H1 sales 1.6 bln euros vs year-ago 1.7 bln euros
* Foreign tourist sales down 15 pct at Haussmann store
* Keeps 2020 profitability goal, annual capex targets
By Dominique Vidalon
PARIS, Sept 14 Galeries Lafayette is in talks
with potential partners in China and the Middle East to open
five new department stores by 2020 as its home market suffers
after a wave of Islamist attacks, its chief executive said on
Nicolas Houze, head of the family-owned Galeries Lafayette
group that owns retailer BHV Marais, said the attacks had
deterred tourists from coming to France and sales fell nearly 6
percent in the first-half to 1.6 billion euros ($1.80 billion).
Footfall and revenue from French shoppers were "nearly
stable" at the flagship Haussmann store during the period but
footfall and revenue from foreign tourists fell 15 percent when
compared to the first-half 2015.
The situation at BHV Marais, which caters to a more local
and Parisian crowd, was almost flat, Houze said.
"Security is clearly a global issue in France but Galeries
Lafayette and France still make foreign tourists dream and they
will come back," Houze told a news conference.
Foreign tourists account for 50 percent of customers at the
Haussmann store, with Chinese leading the way, followed by
visitors from Taiwan and the United States.
Tourists have shunned France since Islamic State gunmen
killed 130 people in an attack in Paris last November, leading
to sharp declines in sales for luxury goods makers but also for
the capital's retailers, hotels and restaurants. In July, a
gunman drove a truck into crowds in Nice, killing 86.
On Tuesday France pledged more aid to help its struggling
tourism sector, bringing to 10 million euros its contribution to
a campaign to promote the country abroad.
DIFFICULT START TO SEPTEMBER
Commenting on summer trading in France, Houze said: "July
benefited from discounted sales but August was calm and
September had a difficult start as with the warm temperatures,
people rather buy a bathing suit than a down jacket."
Houze said he was confident the group could achieve its goal
of doubling profitability by 2020 while keeping annual
investments at 150 million euros.
The Galeries Lafayette group also has stores in Berlin,
Jakarta, Dubai and Beijing, and plans to open in Doha and in
Istanbul in 2018.
Sales at the Beijing store were up 15 percent in the first
half while the Dubai store was on track to reach sales of 100
million euros this year, he said.
Galeries Lafayette is also seeking to boost its e-commerce
operations. It currently makes 2 percent of its sales online and
has a target to reach 10 percent by 2020, Houze said.
Galeries Layette bought e-commerce flash sales site
BazarChic last week after acquiring Instantluxe, a French
e-commerce site that sells luxury leather goods, jewellery and
accessories, earlier this year.
($1 = 0.8910 euros)
(Editing by Astrid Wendlandt)