Premium Middlesbrough independent department store Psyche will open a bistro and champagne bar in late February 2015.
The 1,600 sq ft space will be situated on the first floor of the building and will open seven days a week during store hours, as well as functions on Thursday evenings. It will be run by an external party and serve speciality teas, coffees, drinks and light food.
Psyche formerly had a champagne and oyster bar in the store from 2003 to 2008, which was run by the store itself. “It worked well but now we have brought someone external into do it, which will be much better,” explained owner Steve Cochrane.
The space was previously a hairdressers, but Cochrane said: “We get asked for a café or a bistro all the time when customers are waiting for alterations or want to have a drink and a chat in between shopping.”
Cochrane said trade has been mixed over the last couple of weeks. “It has been quiet on ladieswear, very busy on tailoring and busy on menswear.”
Psyche opened an 8,000 sq ft shop dedicated to young fashion brands called Style Lab in October. Cochrane said that, after a quiet start, sales at the store had picked up.
He also echoed other independents, who told Drapers earlier this week that discounting on the high street was creating unnecessary problems at what should be a lucrative time for retailers.
“It is absolutely insane and will kill the most important season in the year,” he said. “I am very anti-discounting and I think good retailers don’t need to do it, but it is definitely having an impact. The internet has got a lot to answer for.”