- 9 Nov 2015
The changing role of the retail flagship: part II
As a development of our first retail flagship blog, we wanted to analyse current flagship redevelopments in retail, and what this might say about the contemporary in-store shopping experience.
Our customer Oasis has undergone a flagship relocation project, from the recently refitted and latest store design ‘House of Oasis’ on Argyll Street, to a new concept store on Tottenham Court Road. The new flagship opens this week, in time for the run up to Christmas.
The store complements an innovative shopping experience totalling 3,200sqft, with an in-store café, prosecco bar, and hair & nail salon – the first of its kind in the UK.
Hash Ladha, chief operating officer at Oasis, said the new concept was designed to increase customer dwell time in-store “by giving shoppers a full customer experience”. The redevelopment is definitely concerned with providing more than just a shopping experience, offering leisure-focussed spaces that reflect the nature of the brand. Sipping a coffee and getting a manicure is an extension of the brand profile, ‘something Oasis customers might be’.
The refit and opening process of the new store is being managed and supported by Retail Assist’s in-house Store Systems and Store Development teams. You can read more about our specialist retail IT support and project management services here.
Selfridges is another example of the ‘big London flagship’ working wonders in the lead up to the key Christmas selling period.
Being the first store to unveil their iconic Christmas windows this year, their annual Destination Christmas concept is visually stunning, playing on an astrological zodiac theme to embody a ‘Journey to the Stars’. No wonder the department store was crowned winner of Retail Week’s Top of The Shops. It’s no mean feat on Oxford Street, with tough competition where visual merchandising is concerned.
Selfridges’ flagship still functions as the pinnacle of the brand’s identity. It’s as relevant now, as it was in 1909. As Selfridges’ Managing Director, Anne Pitcher, said in a recent interview with Retail Week (4:30): “It’s most importantly where we celebrate our DNA, and unify our creative themes from that customer experience of looking into the windows, coming into the store, and seeing great themes reflected throughout the building.”
However, evidence that a traditional, large flagship store in London might not work for all brands is evidenced by Jaeger’s latest move. Last week it was announced that their flagship on Regent St, which has been occupied by the luxury British brand for 80 years, is soon to be taken by US lifestyle brand, Coach.
Colin Henry, former Chief Executive of Jaeger, previously explained in an interview with Drapers that a smaller flagship unit would be better aligned with Jaeger’s brand identity: “In modern day retailing I don’t need a 27,500 sq ft store. It’s like a department store; we have to generate so much product to fill it”. As Jaeger looks to invest more in its online strategy, the move away from a larger flagship also falls in line with its ecommerce push. The ‘bricks’ offer has been optimised, now for ‘clicks’.
Do you think the retail flagship still attracts consumers in the same way? Or has online shopping dulled its sparkle? If this year’s Christmas windows are anything to go by, that’s certainly not true. Post your comments below…