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New-look stores in spotlight as Derby mall opens

About 150,000 shoppers flocked to see retailers unveil new store concepts this week at the launch of Westfield Derby, the biggest shopping centre opening in the UK this year.

Among the latest concepts at the £340 million scheme is the debut Lab Boutique store, brainchild of sportswear veteran Mike Guest. The store stocks brands on a concession-style basis, including Religion, Lipsy, Modern Amusement, JC Rags, Gsus and Levi’s. Product is not bought in by Lab Boutique, but the retailer staffs the store and supplies all the shopfits.

Lab Boutique brand director Paul Groom said he was pleased with the initial reaction to the mall. He said: “Derby has been starved of quality retail. The mix of shops and quality of the centre is great. The interest has been phenomenal and shoppers are spending money too.”

Anchor stores Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and Next all put their latest looks into the stores at Westfield Derby. M&S chief executive Stuart Rose and Debenhams chief executive Rob Templeman both visited their new stores during the opening.

The Debenhams store features black and white columns, an element transferred from its smaller-format Desire shops.

Templeman said the relocation from the city centre to the 125,000sq ft shop in the centre enabled it to add the likes of the Designers at Debenhams range by Julien Macdonald, Baker by Ted Baker kidswear, Kookand Phase Eight to the offer.

“The quality of the space allows us to do the brands justice,” he said.

The redeveloped centre, completed by Australian developer Westfield and previously called the Eagle Centre, has about 150 shops, with Zara, H&M, Monsoon, All Saints and Mexx all new to the city.

Westfield is also behind developments in Nottingham, Stratford in east London and White City in west London. Derby is likely to be a blueprint for theses malls.

 Lab Boutique will open a store in Basingstoke in Hampshire before the end of the year. Sister concept Lab Sports will also open stores in Bristol, Basildon in Essex and Kingston upon Thames in Surrey. A similar outdoor, boardsports and skate concept called Lab Extreme is planned for Bolton and Hull. All the Lab Sports and Lab Extreme shops will open by the end of next month.

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