Special forces have evacuated 18 people from a Primark store near Paris on Monday morning after gunmen attempted to rob the shop.
The three men fled the Qwartz shopping centre in Villeneuve-la-Garenne at the arrival of police. A manhunt is currently underway.
An eyewitness told the press that people had been fleeing the scene in panic when spotting the armed men.
An employee first alerted her boyfriend of the hold-up around 7am, when she sent a text message saying they had been taken hostage by two armed men.
The incident lasted several hours before police could free the hostages, all of which are unharmed.
One of the gunmen may have been a Primark employee, but this report has not yet been verified. The motive for the robbery remains uncertain, but there is no evidence to suggest political motives.