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Solo revamps its store in bid to fend off downturn

Women’s footwear independent Solo has invested in a £150,000 makeover of its store in a bid to stave off the trading slump.

The store, in Dungannon, Northern Ireland, completed the refurbishment four weeks ago to create a “funkier” look, before introducing new brands for autumn.

Owner Marie Boylan said the aim of the refit was to keep customers interested amid the economic downturn.
“We’ve refreshed the shop, making it look a lot funkier and easier to navigate,” she said.

“With all the doom and gloom about at the moment, we all have a responsibility to keep our shops in pristine condition. If you can’t stay enthusiastic about your store, how can you expect your customers to?”

The 1,750sq ft store, which has been open for seven years, targets women aged 20 years old and upwards, and stocks brands including KMB and Beverly Feldman, with own label making up 20% of the offer. Solo is introducing US brand Steve Madden for autumn.

The new-look store’s interior is made up of a purple, red and pink coloured carpet with diamond-like stones woven in. Customers can try on footwear while sitting on an oversized curved sofa in purple velvet. Two purple chaise longues with red diamond-like stones run down the middle of the store.

Boylan extended the shop into the stock room to create more trading space so that the products could be better spaced out.
As well as Solo, Boylan also runs a contemporary womens-wear independent The Snooty Fox, whose brands include Missoni and Almost Famous. Both stores are located on Scotch Street in Dungannon.

The 3,500sq ft Snooty Fox store received a makeover two years ago. “Both stores attract similar customers, but we have a young fashion area in the womenswear shop as well,” added Boylan.

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