Schuh’s refurbished Bluewater store sets a new design benchmark for the footwear chain
With its geometric designs and bright pops of colour, footwear retailer Schuh’s new store concept TwentyFifteen has been a hit with customers at its refurbished store in Kent’s premier shopping centre Bluewater.
The store, which first opened 14 years ago, is located on the first floor of the mall and comprises 2,200 sq ft of sales space and a 2,600 sq ft stockroom. The first in Schuh’s portfolio to receive the new concept, it was closed for five weeks to complete the refurbishment, which was masterminded by design consultancy MRA Design.
Since pulling up the shutters to reveal the new look at the end of March, Schuh has seen footfall at the store increase by 13% and in-store customer orders rise by 46%, compared with the same time last year.
The striking new shopfit, for which Schuh declines to reveal the investment, stands out on approach. Schuh’s logo has been updated, removing the old lozenge surrounding the company name and replacing it with a modern and sleek geometric-lined, grey design called the ‘Starburst’. This is displayed prominently on the store façade above two large windows, and on the floor of the shop entrance.
The shop windows feature women’s footwear on the right-hand side and men’s to the left, showcasing third-party brands including Adidas, Nike and Havaianas displayed on brightly coloured boxes. Similarly vivid-coloured metal rectangular frames are suspended from the ceiling above these boxes, showcasing further sports and casual footwear product from the likes of Converse. To create a more active and dynamic shopfront, digital screens also hang from these frames highlighting Schuh’s spring 15 campaign shots and its Instagram page.
Stepping inside, the new geometric design is replicated across the tops of the walls above the product shelving to highlight the different departments – red for men, blue for women and yellow for accessories – and via strip lights hung in clusters at irregular angles from the ceiling.
The space across the store is both light and spacious, with product displayed on wooden and glass wall-mounted shelving as well as transparent standalone coloured metal and wooden display frames. These have been specifically designed to give shoppers a 360-degree view of the product and have been lowered to enable sightlines through the display units to the rest of the store.
Men’s shoes are displayed to the left of the store, starting with sports and casual footwear from brands such as Converse, Vans and Nike, and moving back into more formal styles across own-brand and third-party brands like Oliver Sweeney. The same arrangement applies for women’s on the right with brands including Vans, Skechers and Fred Perry.
Kids’ footwear is located on display towers at the back right-hand side of the store, while the back wall is dedicated to accessories and bags – the first time these ranges have had their own department, rather than residing behind the cash desk.
Promoting Schuh’s ecommerce and use of technology is also key. The shop features three kiosks where staff can take payments and search the stock inventory, while staff carry four handheld card readers to take payments during busy periods. Four large screens are also mounted on the left and right walls flashing through key looks for the season.
Schuh managing director Colin Temple says: “The new design brings all the technology projects we have been working on for the last couple of years together under one roof. This really does allow us to deliver a streamlined customer journey and to lever all the benefits we get from being an omnichannel retailer.”
This shopfit will be rolled out to the new Monk Cross store in York, opening in July, and the store at Bradford Broadway in November. A rolling refurbishment programme will see existing stores gradually converted to this look, with Plymouth to be refitted next at the end of June.
The fresh store design gives Schuh a new look that befits its modern approach to footwear retailing, including better integration of its ecommerce and technology, while also ramping up its competition with key rival Office.
Women’s own label: from £18 for a sandal up to £150 for a suede over-the-knee boot
Women’s branded: from £18 for a Rocket Dog flip-flop up to £200 for an Ugg boot
Men’s brands exclusive to Schuh (Red or Dead and Momentum): from £33 for a Red or Dead sandal up to £195 for a leather Red or Dead shoe
Men’s branded: from £19 for an Adidas pool slider up to £259 for an Oliver Sweeney leather boot
Kids’ branded: from £14 for Flossy pumps (toddlers) up to £120 for Ugg boots (junior)