Just over two years since it flung open its doors in a shower of golden confetti, Missguided has announced it will close its Westfield Stratford City flagship.
The Manchester-based fast fashion etailer unveiled the 20,000 sq ft store to much fanfare in November 2016 but the ambitious space proved to be a massive drain on resources.
The Drapers team – along with an array of influencers, including octogenarian social media star Baddie Winkle – attended the opening of the Westfield Missguided store.
We marvelled at the candy pink monster truck, the mannequins in provocative poses and the Missguided-branded money tumbling from the ceiling. Giant model doughnuts and bright neon lights added to the general sense of tongue-in-cheek fun.
It felt fresh, daring and totally relevant to the target consumer. Designed by agency Dalziel & Pow, it rightly won much praise, as well as industry awards. On paper, the store ticked off all the answers to the crisis facing bricks-and-mortar retail.
Theatre was in no short supply and due consideration had been given to blending the online world in which Missguided excelled with offline. Large digital screens were dotted around the store and catwalk style changing rooms promised to be Instagram catnip.
So, why hasn’t it worked? Put simply, the store was just too ambitious. The etailer has never been able to make the heavy investment in such a large space earn its keep. Rents, rates and falling consumer footfall all played their part in the store’s demise and continue to weigh heavily on many retailers’ minds.
Its closure demonstrates the struggle facing even the best of bricks and mortar and may well discourage other etailers from making the leap into physical retail.
Operating such a large store in such a challenging landscape proved too big a challenge.
Ambition is no bad thing. But on today’s high street, retailers must question ever more closely how they can make the heavy investment of stores work.