The Puces de St Ouen in north east Paris.

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The news that the Grosvenor Group, the firm owned by the Duke, have teamed up with the French retail property asset manager Solal Conseil et Dévéloppement (SCD) to purchase the Paul Bert and Serpette antiques markets in the Saint Ouen district was met with a cautious acceptance by the 420 stallholders.

The two property investors announced just before Christmas that they paid €50m (£35m) to previous owners Tikehau Capital Partners for the markets.

Marie-Christine Solal, who founded SCD in 2004, will now be responsible for managing the sites and will organise future developments. Her background is mainly in the management and marketing of shopping centres in France and the US.

"The opportunity to buy the magical Paul Bert and Serpette markets was just too good to miss," she said. "The sites have so much potential and offer real challenges."

"Although the management of a shopping centre is very different from that of an antiques market, I believe that by adapting certain promotional initiatives to the character of the Saint Ouen Market, we can enhance its reputation even further."

The Paul Bert and Serpette sites are two of the 16 markets that make up the Marché aux Puces in the northern Paris suburb. In total they cover 8300 square metres and currently provide rents of €3.6m (£2.52m) per year, boasting over 10m visitors annually.

Restructuring the site is restricted since the area was declared an Architectural Heritage Zone in 2001 by the French culture minister.

Although there have been some rumours amongst traders about rising rents, the president of the Serpette traders, François Frank, told Le Parisien newspaper that he hoped for "a better dialogue" with the new owners.

Patrick Vaissier, vice-president of the market traders association, said that his main concern was promoting the markets. "I hope this is not just about property speculation," he said.

The Grosvenor Group, who have over £5bn in assets, have long managed the Pimlico Road antiques district in London, occasionally to the chagrin of dealers who have suffered major rent rises in recent years.