L' Innovation

   One of Brussels early department stores, À l'Innovation opened in 1897 on rue Neuve, where it remains. Founded by the Bernheim brothers, the store moved into new quarters designed by Victor Horta in art nouveau style in 1902. In 1920, the store expanded with acquisition of a retail outlet of Cologne businessman Léonard Tietz. From 1945 to 1974 a number of branches were opened throughout Belgium.
   A fire in the early afternoon on 22 May 1967 left 2,000 shoppers and staff surrounded by rapidly advancing flames. The large, central glass roof acted as a chimney in spreading the conflagration, in which 253 people perished, including 67 store personnel. The tragedy led to efforts to streamline fire-fighting work (See also Firemen).
   In 1969, l'Innovation and Bon Marché merged to form the INNO-BM Company, which, in turn, joined with GB Entreprises to create the GB-INNO-BM group in 1974. The store adopted the current logo in 1995 and, in June 2001, the GB-INNO-BM group was acquired by the German firm of Kaufhof, an affiliate of the Metro company.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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