Oasis opened its new 3,200 sq ft concept store on London’s Tottenham Court Walk last month to provide its shoppers with a more experiential offer and to increase dwell times. The store includes a cafe and bar, a nail and hair studio. Chief operating officer Hash Ladha talks Drapers through the concept.
Tapping into the trend for flagship stores that offer shoppers a deeper experience of a brand and its desired personality, Oasis launched its latest concept store in time for the peak Christmas trading period.
The store is part of property developer Derwent London’s Tottenham Court Walk scheme, in which Oasis sits alongside retailers such as Waterstones, Planet Organic, teashop T2 and Hotel Chocolat. Metres away from the Tottenham Court Road Crossrail station, which is due to open in 2017, the area is expected to be one of the main beneficiaries of the West End’s predicted rise in retail turnover from the current £8.8bn to £11.25bn by 2020.
The local population is forecast to rise 7.3% from 25,000 and, with more than 160,000 students in this academic hotspot, the area is said to have the highest percentage of people aged between 15 and 34 years in the UK.
Ladha explains: “We were really impressed by the new development and, with all the infrastructure and investment around Crossrail, we felt that Tottenham Court Road will quickly become an extension of busy Oxford Street.”
The two-floor store was designed by London-based creative design agency Dalziel & Pow for what Ladha says was a “significant” investment – although he refuses to reveal precise details.
“It’s all about increasing dwell time and creating an experience for our customers in new areas of their life, while also sitting comfortably within the overall brand personality,” he says.
He explains that to enable this vision, new elements such as the Saucer & Spritz cafe and bar, and Pin & Polish nail bar and hair studio have been added. However, the store’s fashion and accessory areas remain in line with the “House of Oasis” flagship concept that is being rolled out across the portfolio’s top 20 stores.
“The new concepts of Saucer & Spritz and Pin & Polish are an extension of the brand’s overall experience, and have been designed in line with our brand personality,” says Ladha. “It’s not new habits that we’re seeking to appeal to – it’s about giving our customers a new experience, such as an afternoon tea, a glass of prosecco or having their hair styled or nails done.
”It really comes to life when customers book a ’My Personal Stylist’ session [free appointments with in-store wardrobe advisers] and they have an all-encompassing experience.”
The store is already proving popular, and Drapers sees a steady stream of Christmas shoppers during our visit.
But in terms of rolling the concept out further Ladha is keeping his cards close to his chest, and will only say “it’s too early to make a decision”.
Oasis trades from 81 shops across the UK and Ireland. It is also working to replatform its website and will launch click-and-collect early next year.