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Zara, Oxford Circus

Fast fashion has been given a luxury makeover in the Spanish retailer’s central London flagship.

Spanish fast fashion chain Zara unveiled a lavish new store concept last week at its Oxford Circus shop in central London. Eight years after the shop’s doors first opened, the Inditex-owned retailer has refreshed its image in what managing director Stefano Sutter says is “the most beautiful and advanced concept yet”.

The opulent 9,150sq ft store, which has been three months in the making, has a boutique-style air, and the chocolate brown, grey and black shopfit projects a feeling of warmth across its two floors.

The product offer is displayed in large, open-fronted wardrobes, offset by polished dark marble floors, and many of the fixtures and fittings are lighter and more subtle, with steel and glass playing their part in rejuvenating the image.

Lighting is a key in-store improvement: illumination remains dim and unobtrusive, with key items picked out by spotlights. Commercial director Dilip Patel says: “We’re aiming for clean, sophisticated and on-trend. The collections are easily identifiable. We want intimate, with a high street feel.” Sutter says the refurbishment was a “big investment”, but declined to give details on the cost of the shopfit.

The concept, which was designed by an in-house team, features higher price-point womenswear on the ground floor. Menswear is located in the basement, along with womenswear basics and the Trafaluc sporty young fashion collection.

Incorporated into the Trafaluc section is a dramatic, three-metre long sculptural-style metal lamp hung from the ceiling, while the ceiling of the menswear section is adorned with cylindrical birch lamps created by Danish designer Tom Rossau.

The layout of the basement has been overhauled – the cash desk, previously located in the centre of the shop floor, has been moved to the back of the store, and the menswear section now has its own cash desk. The aim is to free up the area in the centre of the store and ease the flow of customers as they shop.

“Previously, the cash desk was in the middle, which was mayhem,” says Patel. “Menswear is still central, but it has its own space now. We actually have a larger sales area than before, which comes from using the space better.

“Each section can now be distinguished, with a clean line of denim to the right or more formal options to the left. The customer can choose which way to go.”

Inditex will roll out the format to all its UK stores in the next few years. However, some parts of the design may be tweaked, depending on location.

Sutter says: “All stores will have the same quality, but fixtures could be different depending on the city.”

Zara 215-219 Oxford Street, London W1D

Essentials:
9,150sq ft:
Size of the new Oxford Circus flagship
200: Number of designers in Zara’s worldwide team
58: Number of Zara stores in the UK
68: Number of countries in which Zara has a presence

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