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Retail goes high-tech at Westfield Stratford

New store concepts and technological advances showcase shopping’s future.

Fashion retailers and brands will launch a digital shopping revolution at next week’s opening of Westfield Stratford City shopping centre.

The east London development, which opens on September 13, will showcase cutting-edge technological advances in stores, many of which have never been seen in the UK before.

Young fashion chains River Island and Republic are among those poised to debut ‘smart’ dressing room technology. The stores will have mirrors in their fitting rooms which enable customers to upload images of the outfits they are trying on straight to social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.

Republic is also among those using Westfield Stratford to promote a click-and-collect service through in-store iPads.

Premium retailer Hugo Boss’s store will host the largest Sharp-manufactured single video wall in Europe, measuring 8 meters by 4 meters. It uses augmented reality, which means customers can interact with it via their smartphones, and take part in games or even dress on-screen mannequins in outfits of their choice.

Footwear brand Timberland will launch a new store concept which focuses on trying to bring the outdoors indoors. It will showcase pictures of seasonal outdoor activities incorporating touch-screen technology to allow customers to interact with the images.

Westfield Stratford’s launch has also provided the perfect opportunity for retailers to test out new store concepts.

Japanese casualwear retailer Uniqlo will open a 10,000 sq ft store that will be the first to feature the chain’s new global standard for shopfittings, fixtures and digital panels. Design features include an eight-metre tall, floor-to-ceiling glass display tank at the front of the store.

Lingerie retailer Ann Summers will showcase its repositioning with a New Look. Its 1,840 sq ft store will include rotating graphics on screens in the windows to create a constantly changing display, themed dressing rooms and a six-foot model rabbit in the middle of a ‘vibe’ circle chill-out area overlooking the store.

The £35m John Lewis store will be the first new London department store from the chain in 20 years and the only department store at Westfield Stratford. More than 70% of the store will feature new in-store concepts for the business including a new-look menswear department and a new shopfront.

Lifestyle retailer Fat Face will open its biggest-ever store at Stratford with a fresh look comprising authentic rope and wood detailing. Customers in the store will be able to watch films from recent campaign shoots or Fat Face events.

Mainstream womenswear retailer Hobbs will use its Stratford store to house all four extensions of the Hobbs brand including Hobbs London, Hobbs Unlimited, Hobbs Invitation and NW3. The store will be the first to have a separate Hobbs Invitation area with its own styling suite and a more glamorous feel. 

Hobbs chief executive Nicky Dulieu said: “It’s been a while since we’ve had the opportunity to start from scratch with a store in a totally new shopping centre and do exactly what we want. It gives retailers a blank canvas to try out new concepts. It’s really very exciting.”

More on Westfield Stratford City

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