Event: Tour around the luxury retailers at The Avenue, Spinningfields
When: Wednesday 16th March 2011. 10am
What we ate and drank: Brunch - croissant, muffins and coffee at The Alchemist
On Wednesday we started off our working day with a little tour of the Avenue at Spinningfeilds, Manchester’s latest luxury shopping, and city cuisine development.
Located just off Deansgate, close to Castlefield, Spinningfields has distanced itself from the shopping area of Market St and taken up residency in the business section of the city; creating itself into Manchester’s answer to Canary Wharf.
Since it opened last autumn the four million Sq Ft development has been turned into the business Mecca of the city and now luxury retailers such as Armani, Mulberry and Flannels are opening up their doors for business.
I am a pretty normal girl with the average spending budget of any 28 year old, so it’s not often I will need to visit any of the said shops, so this was a great opportunity to have a sneaky peek inside the wardrobes of these luxury retailers.
Our tour began in the Armani store with its 9m high shop front with enveloped glass on all four sides; the store provides an iconic gateway into the bustling development. At 10.30am on Wednesday the store was empty apart from three shop assistants, security, and the store manager, Nadine, who guided us round the 8,000sq FT two storey store.
As I looked around the empty store, with prices high enough to put a shiver through anyone, my question was – How does this store make profit? Nadine explained how Armani stores are very client based in all aspects of the operation.
Rather than focusing on new trade they work solely on existing customers and any new custom is just a bonus. They buy with specific clients in minds, looking at what the client has bought in the past, in colours ways, sizes (size 14 is the average in Manchester) and styles, so the client feels the collection has been bought for them.
Perhaps a little ignorant towards new custom I thought, but when she mentioned one client spends £60,000 PER SEASON, which is enough to cover six full time staff wages per year, it seems like a excusable survival technique.
The store seemed to be 70% blue and neutral with an ocean vibe to it…
…flash of lime green….
After Armani we were taken on a guided tour of the Avenue.
Hot Pink in the windows…
Very natural with suggestions of colour through the peach prints….
Best Seller in Manchester: Oversized Alexa in Petti Coat White £914.00
You could smell the quality of leather as soon as you walked into this 872 SQ FT store.
The store is separated into two sides; The Traditional Sweeny, filled with brogues and loafers.
and The London Sweeny…
the store also offers you a bespoke custom made shoe service…
Best Seller: The Kink Boot (below) £395…
Americas oldest clothing retailers, Brooks Brothers opened in September and the store is filled with suits, shirts and preppy casual wear, which compliments all aspects of the Spinningfields business mans wardrobe.
Best Sellers: Polo tees coming in at £40.00 +
(Womens opening later in the year)
The new concept store is themed around the tale of “A Lady Travelling Around Italy”…
Best Seller: Divina Dress £195.00
Out of all the retailers I am unsure as to why All Saints have chosen to open their second Manchester store there. They already have a store on Market Street, which seems geographically in a good location for their younger more urban customer, but Spinningfields is a business area, so it’ll be an interesting one to watch..
Independent luxury retailer Flannels have recently moved away from their King Street residence down to a 14,000 two story sq foot space on The Avenue.
Trying to move away from their unaffordable reputation they are in the process of introducing a few more affordable designers (still luxury) into their product mix and we should see the new Flannels appealing to a wider demographic.
Flannels was the last stop of the day before I was whisked off to the new Nicky Clarke salon for a complimentary cut and blow dry. (I would encourage any fellow Manchester people to check out the new concept salon on the avenue, which consists of a nail bar and soon to be Dior make up counter).
Our visit was mid week so the Avenue wasn’t booming with people, but hopefully as spring approaches and Spinningfields begin to put more focus on events, we will see the footfall grow and retail spending flourish.
Emma Doyle. www.manchesterfashion.com