Editing is something we hear a lot about these days – it’s supposed to be the process by which we are saved the trouble of perusing endless brands and sorting the wheat from the chaff.
Address Unit 105, The Street, Westfield Stratford
Opened End of May
Size 1,700 sq ft
Predominant brand Liberty
Instead, the theory goes, we are presented with a ‘curated’ collection which means we can go straight to the best of each season’s ranges. The fact that this relies heavily on a degree of trust about the ability of the person doing the initial selecting notwithstanding, this would seem a perfectly sensible way of shopping for the time-pressed.
Now imagine taking a store that is known for its brand positioning and then attempting to distil what it does into a smaller space. This is probably best described as curation and editing of a store and is what Liberty has done at its pop-up store in Westfield Stratford. It opened in May and will cease trading in mid-September.
01 - VISUAL MERCHANDISING
ntage of a space with several pillars and a long narrow area inside the left-hand window? The answer is simple – make sure that there is a representation of almost everything that’s in the shop within the narrow space and don’t over-merchandise. Sufficient circulation space has been left to make this feel a quasi-luxury experience, even though it differs vastly from the Great Marlborough Street mothership.
02 - CONCEPT
As a retailer, the thing about a pop-up shop is that to a large extent you take whatever’s on offer. This looks to have been the case for Liberty, which has set up shop in one of the external units where footfall has been visibly lower than inside the mall’s covered areas. It has turned the entrance into one of the centre’s most arresting areas and plays on the association between Liberty and Britishness.
03 - SERVICE
Good service is part of any luxury proposition, but for the most part the Liberty pop-up is more concerned with reaching out to well-heeled tourists than appealing to red of tooth and claw better-end fans of fashion. And from this perspective, this store is principally about self-service, although black-suited types are on hand if required. Equally, presentation standards are the clearest indication that service and housekeeping are up to scratch.
On this basis, the store performs well.
04 - PRODUCT
Think Liberty and the design cliché is a floral print. As this is a mass-market offer the floral print is on much more than 50% of the merchandise, ranging from shoes to Barbour jackets with print linings. It is the men’s shirts that really take centre stage, and if Noel Edmonds were around, he would probably have a field day. Elements from other designers are also showcased, with scarves from English Eccentrics and Manolo Blahnik, as well as hats from Christys’. If you like Liberty print, then you’ll like this.
05 - COMPETITION
It’s tempting to say that Liberty is in a class of its own, but just across ‘The Street’ (as Westfield calls this area) from this store sits a Pretty Green branch. This is likely to compete directly with this pop-up for customers, although on the day of visiting it did appear that Liberty was winning the battle. Within the mall there is nothing that bears close comparison to this shop. If you want a scarf, there will be a wide choice, from John Lewis to Marks & Spencer. Liberty’s distinctive products mean it is likely to act as a mild destination rather than somewhere that you happen across in the mall.
06 - VERDICT - A good addition to The Street
The Liberty pop-up is located on an external part of Westfield that has been pretty quiet when set against the daily hubbub of the mall’s internal areas. It is to the credit of this store therefore that its appearance and branding have succeeded in getting shoppers out into the open air. It is also, for a pop-up, remarkably unlike a pop-up, looking more like a well-put-together store. Glance down from this store and you can catch a glimpse of the Olympic stadium. If the weather’s on Liberty’s side, shoppers will probably pause to take a look on their way to the Games.