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An outdoor 'megastore' on Kensington High Street

Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runners Need have combined into a one-stop shop for outdoors enthusiasts. 

Outdoor & Cycle Concepts has merged three of its stores – Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runners Need – under one roof for the first time in a new “megastore” concept. The 6,542 sq ft unit on Kensington High Street stocks skiwear, outdoorwear for adults and children, and running gear from the three brands.

The location promises outdoor and travel enthusiasts a “one-stop shop” in the heart of the capital: as well as fashion-focused outerwear, the two-storey shop features zones dedicated to sporting equipment, where customers can have custom-fitted ski boots or running shoes assembled on the spot, and seek purchasing advice from its in-store experts.

The building was originally Snow + Rock’s first ever store, which opened in 1982, and was last refreshed in 2013. The new three-in-one space opened on 15 November.

Elaine Wrigley, retail director of Outdoor & Cycle Concepts, tells Drapers how the megastore came about and what the plans are for future expansion.

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Elaine Wrigley

What makes this different from other Outdoor & Cycle Concepts stores?

It’s the first time we’ve had Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner’s Need under one roof. We’ve previously featured two fascias together in our other units, but this is the first time we’ve had all three side by side.

Why combine and create the “megastore” now?

The business has really grown over the last few years and, currently, there’s an increasing focus on both outdoor and outdoor lifestyle product. We’ve had key footholds in the snow market and the outdoor market with Cotswold Outdoor, and we felt there was an opportunity to push that and to offer our customers everything under one roof.

Is there a reason Outdoor & Cycle Concepts’ other arm, Cycle Surgery, wasn’t included?

Cycle Surgery used to be located here, but we took it out to bring Cotswold Outdoor in – that was a conscious decision. We’re on a premium high street, we’re surrounded by other outdoor retailers, and what sets us apart now is that we’ve got key brands sitting alongside each other.

Does Outdoor & Cycle Concepts plan to reopen other stores like this?

We’re in the process of converting our store in Dundrum, Dublin, which will open on 9 December and also feature Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runners Need. It’s one of our biggest stores when it comes to footprint, and it will now feature all of our range – it’ll be interesting to see how customers respond.

Are there plans to open new stores in the UK?

Two new stores will open in the next year, though there will probably be more. One will be in Highcross Leicester, and the other in Rushden Lakes Shopping Centre in Northamptonshire, both of which are prime retail spaces for us.

Do you plany any foreign openings?

We’re part of a European outdoor group – AS Adventure – which has stores in Belgium and Holland. We’ve also recently bought a German outdoor business called McTrek, have just opened a store in Paris and have big expansion plans for France. So yes, it would be fair to say we’ve got some pretty ambitious growth plans.

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