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Shopwatch: Oasis

Oasis continues to evolve its domestic-based flagship design, with Glasgow Buchanan Galleries the site of its latest incarnation.

Womenswear retailer Oasis has taken its quirky, British-themed new flagship concept north of the border to Glasgow.

The Buchanan Galleries store’s eye-catching shopfront embodies the retailer’s House of Oasis design, originally created in 2011 at Argyll Street in London by Dalziel + Pow but evolved in new openings ever since. In this case Dalziel + Pow has put an illustration of the traditional elements of a house - including brickwork and flower pots - onto the frontage and added a modern twist with the addition of a fuchsia wash.

The 1,980 sq ft refurbished store opened on June 5 and follows on from refits at Trinity Leeds last September and Cribbs Causeway in Bristol in January.

As with all branches fitted with the new concept, the first two thirds of the interior are bright and airy, decked out in white, soft grey and flashes of coral, representing a ‘day’ theme. The rear depicts the ‘night’ and is decorated in darker, moodier shades with black walls and dark grey tiled floors, creating a sense of luxury and intimacy.

Products representing the season’s key themes are placed at the entrance to catch customers’ eyes, including a range of Hawaiian-print dresses (£35), skirts (£28) and tops (£25), and a three-tiered merchandised table with co-ordinating accessories, from trilby hats (£15) to printed scarves (£8).

A similar table of accessories is also positioned at the back of the store.

The full spring collection is available in store, including limited-edition capsule ranges that drop at various times through the year, such as the eight-piece Art School line designed by textiles designer Katie Whitton, which hit the shop floor on July 11.

Further inside, other key fashion themes are represented including a ‘Festival Pride’ section with denim shorts (£28), floppy straw hats (£20) and paisley-print shirt dresses (£45). The customer is then guided into eight cosy, living room-style changing rooms at the back of the floor.

Oasis chief operating officer Hash Ladha told Drapers the changing rooms were key to increasing sales: “The customer has to be comfortable. That’s why we change the pace of the store [in the fitting rooms]. If you have a gorgeous dressing room, a place where the customer can dress up and that is a pleasure to be in, they are more likely to buy that item of clothing.”

The Glasgow store is the first of those featuring the House of Oasis concept to include a concierge area in the changing rooms, which is effectively a second cash desk where shoppers can buy their chosen products using an iPad, eliminating the need to queue at the till.

The six-figure cost of the refurbishment - Ladha declined to reveal the amount - has also changed the layout, moving everything onto one level on the ground floor. The changing rooms were moved from the basement to the rear of the ground level to improve accessibility. The basement is now being used as a staff training room.

The decor has also been updated. Lampshades have been painted onto the wall to create a quaint homely vibe and in the changing rooms they have been given a 3D effect with clever shading. A glass wall at the rear of the store, with three chandeliers hanging behind it, creates a wow factor for shoppers when they cross the threshold.

Across all refitted stores the walls and ceilings are constructed away from the structural shell of the unit to give a theatrical stage set feel. A wire frame ceiling structure to the rear of the shop floor eliminates the need for a traditional plasterboard ceiling by lowering the eye away from the exposed ductwork and cable trays and maintaining the intended aesthetic of a Georgian house in a contemporary manner.

Ladha says the significant investment in the refurbishment programme is already delivering results, with the sales performance of new stores “outstripping” those with the old shopfits.

Since 2011, six stores within Oasis’s 288-strong portfolio have been refitted with the new flagship concept and the Gateshead MetroCentre, and Sheffield Meadowhall branches are next in the queue later this year. The company plans to continue rolling out this concept in 2015.

The Buchanan Galleries shop, which occupies unit 20, between branches of Accessorize and La Senza, joins more than 90 other retailers in the centre including Phase Eight, River Island, Warehouse and H&M.

Ladha says the shopfit is an investment in the personality of the Oasis brand: “Our stores are our windows, they have to represent us and our quirky, British nature. We put a lot into them as it’s where most people experience Oasis. Omnichannel is important - the service has to be seamless no matter how the customer chooses to shop - but the in-store experience is the opposite to online.

“The web has to be convenient and that’s why we offer 90-minute deliveries, but in store you have to increase customer dwell time and make it a memorable experience.”

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