Feminine and flirty, or sexy and saucy? Customers at Ann Summers’ revamped store on London’s Oxford Street get to experience both.
The ground floor presents the first option, with shiny black floors and mosaic runways, tall pillars displaying PoS material and a soft pink and black colour combo, all hosting the Knickerbox and Ann Summers brands’ mainlines.
Designed by the lingerie retailer’s in-house team, the ground floor also features glossy black baroque furniture, mirrored drawers and burlesque mannequins, which give the feminine look a veneer of decadence.
Product is displayed on predominantly forward-facing fixtures, while free-standing pods showcase bras and briefs, together with selected beauty products.
The ground floor is the location for Ann Summers’ flirty peephole feature. Devised in 2005 as part of a “retail experience” concept launched at its Trafford Centre store in Manchester, the peephole allows customers to give fellow shoppers and partners a flash of what they are trying on via a spyhole to the changing rooms. The Oxford Street store has three changing rooms on the ground floor and one on the lower ground floor. And it is on this lower floor that things take a turn from the cheeky to the downright raunchy.
Lighting plays a key role in signalling the change. Pale pink twinkling lights create a glamorous, sparkling effect on the ground floor, but as customers approach the staircase in the middle of the store, the tone changes with shafts of red light indicating a sexier, boudoir-inspired environment.
A playground for shadows, the darker, lower ground floor is more intimate, with black rubber flooring, chrome mannequins and a crystal chandelier, from which a sparkling light contrasts with a warmer red glow.
Housing Ann Summers’ edgier collections, including the Bondage, Raunch, Playful and Seductive lines, as well as sex toys and dressing-up ranges, the ground floor is also the centre for the retailer’s infamous Vibe Circle, a destination area where customers can view and “interact” with the product in privacy – or, as Ann Summers suggests, “explore their fantasies”. Key product ranges and sex toys are displayed in the Vibe Circle and customers are given demonstrations of how they work by the store’s staff.
The Oxford Street shop is the blueprint for the rest of the Ann Summers portfolio, with its London Marble Arch shop next in line for a revamp in August. Nationally, Ann Sum-mers plans to revamp 27 stores per year over the next five years out of its 137-store UK portfolio.
As the company continues to expand, chief executive Jacqueline Gold explains: “The look of the new store exemplifies the ever-developing feminine, indulgent vision. It is an exciting stepping stone for the brand and I am certain customers will love the experience we have worked so hard to bring to life.”
Ann Summers 95 Oxford Street, London W1D
2,200sq ft: The size of the shop floor in Ann Summers’ Oxford Street store
£6.9m: Ann Summers’ pre-tax profits for the year to June 30 2007
2: The number of floors at the Oxford Street store