Drapers counts down the ten best store openings, extensions and revamps of 2014.
The Duke Street Emporium represents the next stage in Jigsaw’s “regeneration”, according to chief executive Peter Ruis. The retailer invested £900,000 in the development of the 6,000 sq ft double-fronted, two-floor shop in Mayfair, which combines the latest Jigsaw fashion with a selection from stablemate The Shop at Bluebird. Unveiled in May, the store also boasts a café run by London chain Fernandez & Wells. At Duke Street, Jigsaw has done away with technology in favour of what Ruis calls an “analogue” experience, dressing the store with 1950s and 1960s furniture and a vintage 1978 jukebox to give an authentic flavour.
For sheer spectacle, second place has to go to Pro-Direct’s 1,500sq ft Carnaby Street store, which opened in August. The specialist football etailer’s first physical store combines a black interior with illuminated screens and digital mannequins, integrating technology that lets shoppers play a virtual game of football using just a handheld console.
Part fashion retailer, part record shop, John Varvatos’s debut European store struck the right cord by mixing its menswear collection with jazz, R&B and rock memorabilia. Vintage guitars line the walls of 10,000 sq ft store - the largest of Varvatos’s now 20-store global portfolio – sharing space alongside photographs of musical legends like David Bowie and the Beatles. The rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic is completed by the introduction of a full band set-up and a vinyl listening room, all of which went live to the public in August.
Home shopping specialist N Brown merged the online and offline experience with the opening of its Simply Be and Jacamo dual fascia Oxford Street flagship in September. In-store transactional kiosks let shoppers order products online for home delivery or click-and-collect. In the ‘stay and play’ area, cream couches are surrounded by transactional iPads that let customers browse the website. N Brown also ramped up the technology in the changing rooms, which feature a touchscreen ‘Magic Mirror’, allowing customers to upload photos directly to social media. The private personal shopping room comes complete with a catering area and 360 degree Bodymetric scanner.
Flying the flag for independent retail, Aphrodite marked its 20th anniversary in September with a £250,000 ground floor extension, growing the trading space from 500 sq ft in 1994 to 3,800 sq ft in 2014. The space was designed to house sports footwear, denim, streetwear and outerwear from brands such as New Balance, Saucony, Edwin, Levi’s Vintage and Patagonia. Following the extension, Aphrodite has added eight new brands, taking its tally up to 40, including Moncler, Stone Island and Oliver Spencer. New additions for autumn 14 include Canada Goose, Our Legacy, Yuketen, Diemme and Dr Martens Made in England, with Norse Projects hitting the store for spring 15.
Dune went big in May, opening the largest store in its portfolio - 2,200 sq ft, compared with an average store size of 1,300 sq ft. More space means more product, including a “footwear catwalk” positioned on the ceiling. The clever merchandising of men’s shoes at the front of the store has already driven menswear sales by 25% across all Dune’s refitted stores. The Oxford Street flagship, however, is the first store to have a separate area for bags, wallets, scarves and sunglasses, highlighting the growing importance of accessories to the footwear retailer.
MMW brought its surf chic aesthetic to Newquay following the opening of its debut lifestyle store in November. Located within the Revolver Surfing Emporium on the Cornish coast, the 500 sq ft MMW store mixes its own label clothing with Solimar bikinis and Gloverall toggle rain jackets. On the walls Japanese boros (patchworked textiles) and hand-dyed scarves hang among surfboards. Laid back cool at its chilled out best.
Warehouse splashed £1m to make its debut on London’s busiest shopping street in March. Inspired by the converted warehouses of New York’s Meatpacking District, the 2,500 sq ft Oxford Street flagship features a double-height atrium space illuminated by faux-skylights. Exposed brick walls, along with concrete and distressed wooden flooring, add to the industrial effect. Customer experience is central to the concept, which includes a VIP area where customers can book one-on-one appointments. The Oxford Street flagship is the fourth Warehouse store to receive this new look, after Trinity Leeds, Bristol and Belfast, the latter which recorded an 80% surge in sales following its revamp.
Ted Baker returned to its roots with its latest Glasgow store, the city where it made its debut back in 1988. Opened in March, the 2,665 sq ft store was designed to pay tribute to Ted Baker’s heritage with the theme ‘Great Scots and their world firsts’. Grids carry curiosities including clocks, magnified brains and Victorian doctors’ kits, celebrating Scottish inventors, while the entire till is covered in a map of Glasgow. A display case contains the first Ted Baker accessory: a men’s satchel from 1988. Despite the heritage concept, the new store is pushing forward with new technology, such as interactive screens in the changing rooms which let customers send pictures of their outfits as an animated GIF to social networking sites.
Drapers got an exclusive sneak peak at the US denim label’s first UK store, which opened in Westfield London on November 13. The two-storey, 9,744 sq ft space, features a signature statement denim wall and shop-in-shop selling lingerie sub-brand, Aerie. Later that month, American Eagle added stores in Westfield Stratford (November 17) and Bluewater in Kent (November 19) to its UK portfolio.