West End shoppers head for South Molton Street expecting to spend more than they will do along almost the whole of Oxford Street.
This short thoroughfare is where a number of the area’s better-end boutiques are located, and when it comes to parting with cash, its only real rivals are Bond Street (New and Old) and perhaps the lower end of Regent Street.
Perhaps for this reason, golfing brand Golfino has opted to open a flagship here. If golfing clothes are what you seek, then this seems a good place to start the search. This store, and the brand as a whole, seeks to be for men and women hitting small balls with sticks what Lacoste is to tennis - the default choice when it comes to looking the part, even if you’re not actually much good at the sport.
There are other Golfino standalone stores in the UK, but this is as good as it gets for fans of the German brand that claims to be Europe’s market leader for golfwear.
1. Visual Merchandising
There is a school of back-to-basics when it comes to visual merchandising that tends to feel that the product should be allowed to speak for itself. Follow this line of thinking and the tendency is to come up with something pretty minimalist. This appears to be what has happened
in the Golfino store, but owing to the relatively small size of the shop, the outcome is a form of white box that feels quite cramped. There is also not a great deal about what has been done to the store that conveys any sense of individuality. The stock is displayed in a tidy but unoriginal style. Golf might be an intrinsically conservative pastime, but more could have been done in store than is the case in this instance.
This is a small shop made smaller by dint of a screen that separates the front third from the area at the rear. This has the undesirable effect of meaning the bulk of the store is artificially lit. When this is coupled with the decision to put freestanding mid-shop rails in the back part of the shop, the low ceiling means there is a distinct sense that things have been crammed in. It’s hard to understand why making the space quite so busy is considered a competitive advantage.
There were two members of staff in Golfino on the late Saturday afternoon of visiting. The store has been open since April, so it has had plenty of time to bed in. Yet while most of the other stores on the street seemed to have a few shoppers checking out potential purchases, there seemed little danger of either service or a degree of post-browsing tidying up being necessary here. In fairness, both of the staff were attentive as well as being able to answer any questions thrown at them.
There are two collections in this Golfino flagship: Black Label and Green Label. The latter is active sportswear for men and women, and if you fancy paying close to £90 for a polo shirt or more than £150 for a pair of trousers (with ‘stretch’ in them) then this is certainly an option. The Black Label collection is ambitiously priced casualwear, with a woman’s parka, for instance, on sale at £499. Golf tends to be for the well-heeled, but there is a lot in this shop that does seem expensive.
Lacoste, which has a massive flagship in Knightsbridge, might be associated with tennis but it also does a pretty good job when it comes to golf as well. It is a better-known brand and the range of colours when it comes to polo tops is much bigger. Then there is Nike, just around the corner up at Oxford Circus. Here, active sportswear is the sine qua non and again, when set against much of what is on show in Golfino, it does represent substantial competition. As far as sportswear is concerned therefore, the ranges in this store do look tricky owing to the fact that the brand might be known, but it might not be sufficiently well known to command the prices that are being asked.
If shoppers are asked a lot of money for a range then they are probably entitled to expect an in-store environment that is concomitant with this. The manner in which the space has been carved up at Golfino, however, means you might anticipate prices being lower than they are. This looks like a shop-in-shop fit-out that has been expanded to fill the space that was on offer. That said, it still feels small. The decision to offer a casualwear range that sits alongside the golfwear also seems questionable.
TOTAL - 29/50