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Shopwatch: Jarrolds unveils new fashion floor

Jarrolds in Norwich opened the redesigned womenswear area on its first floor this week.

The extensive revamp, which was started in June and finished last week, cost £500,000. In the first week of trading, sales on the 17,000 sq ft floor were up 10% on own-bought and 14% on fashion concessions. 

In this latest stage in the ongoing refurbishment of the 1840s building, the floor has been made “light, airy, calm, elegant and sophisticated”, says director Michelle Jarrold. “We wanted people to be inspired, have fun and not find shopping stressful.

“I am conscious of the ability of anyone to shop online and, as a department store, we need to think about why people want to come and shop; they want an enjoyable experience. We wanted to reach out to women of all ages and for them to feel welcome and enjoy great service levels,” she tells Drapers.

The design was created by Simon May from Furniss & May and Mark Brown from Now London, who both worked on the revamp of Jarrolds’ ground floor, where the redesign of the beauty, accessories and menswear areas was completed last year.

The new womenswear floor was remodelled in stages over a nine-week period. Attention was given especially to the lighting and floor coverings (a mix of toning, neutral porcelain tiles and carpet). More space was created for walkways and sightlines; each shopfit is restricted to a height of 2.2 metres to create a unified feel.

Halo lighting around each brand panel gives them focus. Windows have been uncovered to allow more light into the lingerie area.

We wanted people to be inspired, have fun and not find shopping stressful. We wanted to reach out to women of all ages and for them to feel welcome and enjoy great service levels

While retail prices have remained steady at Jarrolds, the floor looks more expensive and there has been a refocus of younger brands such as Superdry, Vero Moda and White Stuff. The personal shopper area is now more comfortable, while the boutique area, called Emporium, carries brands exclusive for the Norwich area, including Weekend Max Mara, Bitte Kai Rand and Maison Scotch. Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss are new to the floor for this season.

Concessions for the previously stocked Kurt Geiger, Moda in Pelle and Florida form a new shoe lounge featuring metallic, dark wood, bronze and white fixtures and back panels. Other footwear cross-merchandised across the floor includes LK Bennett, Mint Velvet and Hobbs. Jarrolds claims to have the biggest choice of women’s footwear in Norwich.

Says Michelle Jarrold: “Shoppers have been extremely positive; they can’t believe the change. We were 10% up last week [the first week of trade following the refit] on own-bought and 14% up on fashion concessions. We are amazed at how well we are doing as a store. Investment is really paying off and it’s really encouraging for bricks-and-mortar retailers. People talk about the future only being online, but we are 4% up as a store on last year, excluding online growth.”

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