Premium department store Flannels is to go back to its roots at a new Manchester flagship as it battles through the economic downturn.
Flannels chief executive Neil Prosser said the business would relocate its existing two shops in the city at St Ann’s Place and King Street to a 20,000sq ft shop in the new Spinningfields development next February. “We’re working more to wards what we did when we first opened, with more unknown brands but also value for money,” he said. “We need to reinvent ourselves in the city. The customer base is still there and is not short of money but times have changed.”
“Retailers went through a period where they put loads of stock in the store, then it went really minimal. We think somewhere in between is best. The new store will still have the Flannels feel but will evolve into something to take us into the next ten years.”
Prosser said that the scheme was the best location for Flannels in the city: “It offers parking, exclusivity, value and its in a good environment and our core shopper.”
He added that the retailer was working hard to get through the “toughest time the business has had”.
He said: “Premium has taken a tumble but hopefully it’s levelling off. We’re fighting and we’ll get through the pain.”
Prosser also offered advice to other retailers about tackling the recession. “Look at you’re costs, do your business model and make sure you buy product you like and need,” he said. “Less is more when times are tough and the best time to make changes is in the recession.”
Flannels is one of a raft of upmarket retailers to sign up for Spinningfields, which is being developed by Allied London Properties and will provide around 80,000 sq ft of retail space as part of the regeneration of the area.
Emporio Armani and Mulberry will create new flagship stores, while Ermenegildo Zegna, Joseph and Brooks Brothers have also signed up.
Kurt Geiger, Oliver Sweeney and Hugo Boss are understood to be in negotiations, with the latter planning its first UK standalone womenswear shop.
Letting agent Knight Frank is in talks with other retailers for the eight or so remaining units. Smaller kiosk spaces for independent retailers and boutiques are also available at the scheme which is due to open next February.