The role of the flagship store has evolved over the years, shifting from an expression of brand strength, to become a crucial component of a wider strategy for growth that delivers financial reward and brand kudos. The revitalisation of Debenhams on Oxford Street achieves exactly that. It’s a dramatic statement for the brand with real benefits to the bottom line – creating a model for future global expansion and a showcase for the best of Debenhams in the UK.
The ground floor arrival delivers on Debenhams’ promise of a bright and fresh future. Tired, heavy and dark fixturing has been replaced to give a space appropriate to showcase the vibrant multi-branded offer. The architecture is a framework for the individual brands and collections, and takes the form of a neutral but striking textural white box with a few ownable and distinctive details. Communications remain monochrome throughout, but succeed in emphasising the white space to give the total experience a fashionable edge.
Give the customer a reason to visit the store, increase dwell time and offer the customer something more than just a shop are all issues, and opportunities, facing department store operators in the future. At Debenhams we have created three dining destinations within the store that reflect a new understanding of the customer and their needs. These three complementary and contrasting offers are located on three separate levels with each located and designed to respond to the varied mindsets of the shopper and to maximise revenue. Each offer has been carefully tailored to its location, its adjacencies and its target audience and a multi-layered approach means that every detail has been considered, from the welcome, to the menu, to provide a seamless consistency.
An uplifting and fresh family restaurant located on the children’s floor is flooded with light and offers an updated classic menu that is a perfect fit for the brand, while a fast-service café on the second floor brings the pace and vibrancy of a high street operator to the fashion department. A premium bistro offer in the basement targets those with more time on their hands and provides a calm meeting place and a refuge from the buzz of Oxford Street outside.
Debenhams’ fashion offer is unique on the high street. 50% of the total fashion offer is exclusive with the majority of that offer branded as Designers at Debenhams. In the new concept the brands have been elevated in a manner that is unrecognisable from the previous approach. Designers are showcased, ranges are highlighted and space is allocated for directional and curated range showcases that would otherwise be crammed with merchandise and product lines.
In support of Debenhams’ as an omni-channel retailer, additional ranges are shoppable online through a series of fullyequipped in-store terminals, which allow a sale to be concluded there and then. Through this seamless approach the customer is supported in every corner of the store, at every touch-point and across every channel.