This small store serving the area’s businesswomen is trading far ahead of expectations thanks to a new fit-out and a precise understanding of its customer.
Canary Wharf is quite possibly the blandest business destination in the UK. Forget the fact that big finance has in large measure decamped here, drawn by show-off glass and steel towers, and that a small semi-independent state has sprung up to service those who work in these, it is still Midwestern dull. Then there are the several separate, yet linked, underground shopping malls. These contain huge numbers of familiar high street names and in most cases it has been a matter of retailers condensing their offers to deal with the smaller units that generally characterise what is available.
Practically, this means many shops are like small, polished flagships, rather than run-of-the-mill outlets. Luxury also plays a major part, owing to the affluence of those living and working in the area.
Among all of this sits a Jaeger London store that opened at the end of last year with a new-look interior and which, having settled down, has proved itself adept at outperforming other branches in the capital. To give an instance of this, the store’s turnover was running 60% ahead of what had been planned in the week to the beginning of July. This may, of course, have been aided by the fact it was on Sale, but nonetheless, this is clearly a popular store and one that appeals to the everyday dress needs of the, presumably, businesswomen who cross its threshold.
Key looks and merchandise mix
Given its location, you would expect this to be a pretty formal offer and this proves to be the case – from the black-trousered and skirted mannequins that form the window display to deep into the furthest recesses of the shop. Colours range from black and royal blue to creams and taupes, with red and fuchsia providing the bolder colour highlights.
Most of the stock was on Sale, but a small rail bearing a card with the legend ‘New Collection’ gives a taste of the shape and colour of things to come, with fawn double-breasted tuxedo jackets with plain-front ankle-length trousers to match. This is coupled with pansy-print knee-length dresses and cropped jackets. The watchword in all of this is probably ‘classic’, whether you choose to look at new or Sale stock.
Prices are at the better end of aspirational, with the aforesaid tux on offer at £360, and if you want a big bag, the majority of these were originally priced at £299 but are now there to be snapped up for £199.
Jaeger London in Canary Wharf is about investment dressing and wardrobe building. These are items that are certainly modish in terms of colour, but shapes are such that few eyebrows will be raised if a piece is worn a year from now in one of the many offices that provide the bulk of the store’s footfall. Unexceptional but efficient and appealing.
The issue that faces Jaeger London in Canary Wharf is the one that confronts any fashion retailer trading from a relatively modest space (about 800 sq ft) – how do you get sufficient stock onto the floor without seeming crammed while at the same time providing a competent range? The answer is that you side hang the merchandise rather than trying to show every garment with a forward-facing presentation.
Done badly, this can look very poor indeed, as the tendency with this kind of display is to put too much onto the rails (it is still the undoing of the value end of the market). Jaeger has robustly avoided the temptation and the side-hung styles are displayed with one of each size per SKU. Clearly, this involves a lot more work to ensure sizes are not absent but this seemed to be being achieved. The windows are simple – just a couple of dressed mannequins – but there again it would be easy to be over-fussy and the small scale has to be borne in mind.
Even in a store of this size, you do not get to be 60% up without considerable disarray being wrought across the store as far as housekeeping is concerned.
Yet on what the three members of staff said was a very busy lunchtime, there was little sign that this was anything other than a pristine series of displays.
Impressive therefore, probably helped by the fact that there were three members of staff in a store where many retailers might have been tempted to make do with two. It also means that should you be in Jaeger shopping mode, standards of individual attention are going to be high.
The blueprint for this store was created by London consultancy Kinnersley Kent and is set to be taken to other stores. In essence, the design relies on a series of large, dark wood perimeter frames with matching mid-floor rails. A white box with naked pendant bulbs for the windows and a plain tiled floor provide the rest of the scheme, keeping things simple and ensuring the gaze is focused on the stock.
The approach has considerable appeal, as when a shop is this small, anything more intricate in terms of wall or equipment treatment runs the risk of being fussy.
Would I buy?
Maybe not, as it probably strays a mite too far down the classic road, but it is obvious that this has appeal for a large number of female shoppers in Canary Wharf. The first standalone Jaeger men’s shop opens in this shopping mall in October, at which point the matter of personal taste may again rear its head.
Jaeger London operates a small store in Canary Wharf with an edited range that is closely in tune with the needs of the local demographic. Knowing what to exclude, as much as what absolutely has to be on display, is a tough thing to do, but Jaeger seems to have managed it with aplomb here.
Address Cabot Square, Canary Wharf, London E14
Opened November 2010
Design Kinnersley Kent
Collection Jaeger London womenswear and accessories
Outstanding feature The completeness of the offer in such a small space
The future A Jaeger menswear store will open in Canary Wharf in October