MissGuided: Heat Seeking Fashion Gets Physical

Born and bred online, young fashion retailer Missguided is now cutting its terrestrial teeth as it continues to roll out its physical flagship stores to major shopping centres in the UK. Full of attitude, high on fashion and riding a dynamic rollercoaster the task in hand was always to translate this successful e-commerce formula into real stores considering their limitations of space, product availabilities and operational restrictions. And while it learns well from the best of bricks ‘n’ mortar it brings new thinking and ideas to the physical space without the baggage of tradition constantly pulling it back down to…

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Does your store backroom space show you value your staff?

The Daily Post:- 5th April Does the amount of store gross sqm you dedicate to your staff really show how much you value them?   I’ve been visiting stores of a couple of similar retailers in terms of their sector and size of store. They have different market positions but have the commonality that customer service is very important to their proposition and ultimately their conversion and profit. Despite the market positioning differences, many elements in the store are similar from the density of displays, type of fixture, layout of the retail space and so on. However the thing that sets them…

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Hope Springs Eternal with the Beauty of a Retail Calendar

The Morning Post:- 5th April “Hope Springs Eternal with the Beauty of a Retail Calendar“   Helping a retail client to exit the Easter promotions and move into a mid-season sale the staff, and even the store itself, naturally succumb to some mild form of “Post Event Syndrome.” For sure April brings showers, certainly in the UK, but it also closes an intense period of retail activities driven by a condensed seasonal event calendar. From the gloom of February we brighten our days with Valentines pinks & reds and then onto early Spring, through Mother’s Day, St Patrick’s day and finally…

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Do you know the “new” rules for your next store design?

Retail professionals are under extreme pressure to deliver what they always have, but now in a retail landscape that is being transformed by changing customer behaviour and a migration of retail sales to e-commerce.   There is a level of confusion and indecision that has entered many retail teams, that comes from the evolution of omnichannel. The pace of that indecision is increasing as the repercussions of wrong decisions become commercially more significant and more critical. Getting retail right with every new store opening, with every new collection, was difficult to do with the “goal-posts in the same place” Now…

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Westfield London: New footprints in Experiential Retailing

The Morning Post:- 27th March Westfield London: New footprints in Experiential Retailing   Fresh back from viewing the advance guard at the extension to the Westfield London centre in White City. It is already impressive and will be spectacular, I have no doubt, when all the stores are open in a month or two. What you see in the first openings from retailers such as Lush, White Company, West Elm, Boots, Currys, and of course the showcase John Lewis, is a real and tangible response to the pressures put on stores through the migration of sales to online. In this omnichannel environment these…

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Fnatic Bunkr: The Physical Experience of eSports

If you read my post regarding Sports Direct and Game proposing to share store space to introduce eSports arenas and you’re not familiar with Bunkr then read on. Bunkr was a pop-up eSports store and social space set up by Fnatic, one of the worlds biggest and most popular eSports teams. The concept appeared in Shoreditch in London and although planned as a pop-up of a few weeks lasted for over a year. It closed recently but promises to return soon in a different location bigger and better than ever. It serves as very good food for thought for everyone…

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Selfridges: “Popping-up” Down the Corner Shop

On any visit into London its always worth a visit to Selfridges. It really has to be the most dynamic and imaginative retailer out-there always inventing, changing and challenging as it seeks to drive ever more customer through its shiny doors. It would be easy to be complacent, already having the most amazing assortment of brands, and seemingly every angle covered in the fight for footfall.     Last November saw the beginning of its unveiling of its new luxury accessories hall which when fully opened will apparently be the largest one in the world. No holding back there. However…

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Retail Beginning or Retail End? 7 essentials for survival!

The Morning Post:- 23rd March Retail Beginning or Retail End? 7 essentials for retail success! Sometimes it makes sense to draw a line in the sand, even when the sands are changing at an unprecedented rate. This is certainly the case in retail. We are not surrounded completely by doom-and-gloom retail news, however there is undoubtedly a lot of it. This reached a focus this morning with the announcement from Next of its latest results. Whilst not perfect and admitting some errors in assortment and availability, Next is a highly respected retail business with great expertise in buying, a consistent fashion position and…

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The New Era of Retail Collaborations: Sports Direct & Game!

The Evening Post:- 22nd March “The New Era of Retail Collaborations: Sports Direct & Game!”   Roaming through my rather cavernous Sports Direct in search of school sports supplies, I was considering the proposed collaboration between Sports Direct and Game. The idea is to share retail space and bring their brands together under one roof. It makes complete sense, serving different retail and leisure needs but to the same customer, whilst both offering something positive to the joint physical experience. The collaboration is also interesting in that it marries together two retail brands heading from very different origins but now to…

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“Retail is Performance Theatre – Twas it not always so?”

The Morning Post:- 21st March “Retail is Performance Theatre – Twas it not always so?”   I thought it time to write something about the issue of theatre in retail. This has been stimulated by the news that John Lewis has had all its sales personnel at its new White City store personally trained by a drama academy. Once again hats off to John Lewis for this initiative, one of the oldest dogs teaching new tricks to everyone else. However, the fact is, theatre in retail is not new. In fact, literally, the original face of retail was theatre. We were a nation…

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Missguided Opinion: Cracks in the E-commerce Golden Egg

The Evening Post:- 20th March “Missguided Opinion: Cracks in the E-commerce Golden Egg!”   Firstly, let me say I am a huge fan of Missguided. Whilst not the classic target customer I remember the palpable excitement of walking through their first store in Westfield Stratford, conceived in collaboration with Dalziel & Pow. It was such a refreshing store with so many ideas for the new era of physical shopping, not bogged down or held back by the mistakes and misconceptions of a retail history. The way it used the entrance to create amazing theatre and spectacle, the way it combined the latest…

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“The Story of the Old Shop, the New Shop & the Other Shop!”

The Daily Post:- 20th March “The Story of the Old Shop, the New Shop & the Other Shop!”   Now the story I’m about to tell is a true story, and its a story about one of the UK’s biggest retailing businesses. They shall remain nameless as their identity is not the issue but to illustrate that improvements are always there even amongst the most seasoned operators. The retail business had in place a store refreshment programme and had allocated a dedicated team to work through its store portfolio applying a refreshment programme to each store. The process took 2 days per…

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“What’s the Real Cost of Retail Store Disciplines?”

The Morning Post:- 17th March “What’s the real cost of retail store discipline” On a benchmarking tour of value retailers this week I found my initial curiosity and enthusiasm slowly but surely drained as I was repeatedly faced with dull store interiors, poor lighting, dirty shelves, torn graphics, display chaos and in some instances such a scarcity of staff that I could have used happily bedded down for a few hours without fear of being disturbed. The point is not about or indeed restricted to low price or discount retailers, but about the intrinsic value of basic store disciplines. What is the relative cost of implementing and enforcing store…

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“Take the Easy Money” – M&S Bakery Heaven in a Block!!

The Daily Post:- 16th March “Take the Easy Money” Wandering around a Marks & Spencer food court in the weeks before Easter is still a very pleasurable experience if you enjoy comfort eating at this inclement time in an inclement year. M&S has had its fare share of criticism over recent years, quite rightly in many cases, however it still remains one of the retail juggernauts emanating from sepia days which has managed to steer a reasonable course through the e-commerce revolution, managing a huge store portfolio, expanding its brand authority across a variety of new product sectors and establishing itself as…

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“The Fight for Retail Independence or Multiple Monotony!”

The Evening Post:- 14th March “The Fight for Independence” An interesting article caught my eye today from online research company Onbuy.com. Their survey was comparing the opening and closing of retail outlets by region of the UK, for multiples & independents.   It goes to show how things quickly change in life, and in retail in particularly, the most dynamic of industries. Because what jumps out from the findings is that in all but 2 of the 11 regions independent retail outlets grew whilst also in all but 2 of the 11 the number of multiple outlets fell. Concluding that in many…

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“Global Local Retailing” – Familiarity & Contempt in the Backyard

The Morning Post:- 14th March “Global Local Retailing” The combination of a powerful global brand with local creatives, craftsmen and manufacturers has to be a recipe for success in this international world with its ironically specific local tastes.   Passing through central London on an Oxford Street East to West route taking in the crisp morning air it seems that the better US brands have come to understand this assortment strategy better perhaps than many European brands. At the top of this highly stylised tree would be Anthropology and Urban Outfitters where a strong and consistent eclectic taste allows a variety of…

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Retail By Your Side: Practical & Moral Support for Retail Professionals

Retail is not getting any easier…in the boardroom or the stockroom. So allow us to introduce…“Retail by your Side,” seeking to support the modern retail professional with advice, inspiration and practical know-how delivered through daily posts. Although retail life is complex…sometimes simply an idea, a few words, can go a long way to making every moment in a unique industry a more enjoyable and commercial one.     “The Morning Post!” Shall we begin? Inspiration for the retail day ahead… The Morning Post aims to share with you those blinding insights of retail clarity that only seem to appear in the…

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Maxximising Potential: TK Putting on the Style

As part of VM-unleashed’s 10th anniversary year we take a look back at some retail milestones from the last decade and explain why each store’s message is as relevant for us today as it was then. TK Maxx is now so central to so many customers’ buying plans that it’s difficult to remember the huge strides it has taken over the recent decade to propel its proposition into the mainstream and its results into the realms of high street fashion fantasy land.   It’s original UK arrival was so American and nothing like we had seen before. It was a…

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Saving & Making Money from New Store Concepts & Re-fits!

Tim Radley, speaking at the Retail Shopfitting & Display Summit 2018 Part 1: Setting the scene for performance. We may all be forgiven for believing that physical stores are dead-in-the-water of the tidal wave of retail revolution carrying all convention before it on a journey to outlet oblivion. However it’s very much a matter of saving theatrics for new store concepts rather than dramatic and premature obituaries.   But, before we get down literally to the nuts and bolts of store design and shopfitting it is worth confirming that there will be less stores for sure, with simple mathematics of 20%…

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MADE+ in Heaven: Delivered to your Door!

So, imagine a furniture concept that throws out the baggage of the traditional way of doing things, and re-invents the whole process from the perspective of the customer and the designer. More or less, you have Made.com Made is born from a passion for modern, beautiful furniture and the frustration of buying it the old-fashioned way. And with necessity being the mother of invention it was real life experience that bore forth the mother of modern retailers.   Let’s take the design side of things. Made is a conduit for both internal and external designers who fit the profile with…

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