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Chanel to stage in-store take over at Colette's

Chanel is set to take over the entire first floor of iconic Parisian-concept store Colette from the end of October.

Located in the heart of Paris, at 213 Rue Saint-Honoré, the premium boutique is set to host a number of events and brand-related presentations from Chanel from October 30 to November 25, 2017. The events will be centred around the central theme of music and a selection of ready-to-wear pieces and accessories from Chanel’s autumn/winter 2017-2018 and Cruise 2017-2018 collections will be displayed within a “dreamlike scenography.” Colette will also host a number of beauty talks with Chanel as part of the month-long take-over.

“Between artistic encounters and lots of surprises, a true experience awaits you in the Chanel ephemeral space at Colette,” said Chanel in a statement. The month-long takeover marks one of the final in-store events set to take place at Colette. The concept store previously announced its impending closure at the end of year this July. Colette’s closure has been linked to the upcoming retirement of its founder, Colette Rousseaux, who founded the boutique in March 1997. Within 2 decades, the concept store became one of the leading fashion stores in the world, known for its unique brand offering, one-of-a-kind displays and collaborations with major luxury fashion houses, like Chanel.

Photo: courtesy of Chanel

Following Prime Minster Theresa May’s Brexit speech in Florence, where she called for a move to back a transition period, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has praised her for recognising consumers in her Brexit plan.

In the speech ahead of the next round of Brexit talks, May called for a two-year transition deal after the UK leaves the European Union in March 2019, and stated that she wanted the UK to be the EU’s “strongest friend and partner” and for the UK to “thrive side-by-side”.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson, said in an open letter on its website: “We’re pleased the Prime Minister has recognised that Brexit needs to work for consumers which means time to adapt new customs controls to avoid disruption and a final deal which avoids new tariffs at a time when household budgets are already squeezed.

"Our EU colleagues in stores and supply chains are part of the reason that British retailers are often able to deliver affordable and high-quality goods. The Prime Minister is right to offer a real guarantee to both EU workers and UK nationals in the EU-27 between 2019-2021, subject to a registration requirement.”

Dickinson added: "A period of implementation is vital to offer certainty for businesses and allow them to prepare. It provides welcome assurance that existing trading conditions are to remain in place based on the existing structure of EU rules and regulations. This will aid the free flow of goods in the transitional period post 2019.”

However, the BRC chief executive did stress that “clarity” from both sides on how this can be delivered was “essential”.

"Businesses and consumers will share the aspiration of the deepest access to European markets in goods and services post-Brexit but clarity from both sides on exactly how this can be delivered and on what terms is essential in the coming weeks and months. Clarity together with creativity are required to deliver a deal that works for retail businesses and consumers,” added Dickinson.

Balenciaga to open boutique on Avenue Montaigne

Avenue Montaigne is getting a new tenant on Saturday. Balenciaga is set to open a boutique on the street that is home to other luxury brands including Dior, Chanel and Louis Vuitton.

The new store will play on the design concept of their Rue Saint Honore store. The Hausmannian space has been outfitted with industrial touches including aluminum display tables, grey resin floors and a warehouse conveyor rail.

The art selections include work by American street artist Mark Jenkins.

The new Avenue Montaigne store brings the total count of Balenciaga's Paris stores to three. Balenciaga's men's store located on Rue de Varenne has closed.

Kering, the parent company of Balenciaga, announced in their first quarter report that Balenciaga was seeing marked sales acceleration. Overall, Kering, which also owns Gucci, saw consolidated revenue rise 31.2 percent and 28.6 percent on a comparable basis.

photo: via Balenciaga Facebook page
Antoine & Lili open debut UK store in Kent

French fashion label Antoine & Lili has set its sights on international expansion and opened its first store in the UK. Located in Canterbury, Kent, the new store opening comes less than a year after the brand was acquired by investment fund Dzeta Group and Judith Benhamou.

The new 120 square meter store, located near the famous Cathedral of Canterbury, features the brand’s ready-to-wear women’s wear and children’s wear. The brand’s collections are designed in Paris, and the majority of its collections are manufactured locally in France, in small limited series.

Antoine & Lili open debut UK store in Kent

The debut store's interior has been redecorated to match the brand’s colourful and feminine aesthetics, including bright patterned wall-paper and pink touches throughout, keeping in line with the spirit and roots of the brand. Antoine & Lili chose Canterbury as the first location to open in the UK in due to its high tourist appeal, which sees visitors coming in from across the UK and the globe.

Antoine & Lili open debut UK store in Kent

Antoine & Lili open first store in the UK

The Parisian-based brand, founded by Martine Senac and Alexandre Gattegno in 1994, is known for its vibrant women’s and children’s wear. Since Antoine & Lili was acquired by Dzeta Group and Judith Benhamou, the new owners have been exploring future options for the business. The new owners have been organizing operations, expanding Antoine & Lili collection and growing the brand’s presence online and offline in France and Europe.

The investment group is also seeking to expand the brand’s growth from its current 7 million euro turnover per year while retaining its heritage. "We do not have in mind to revolutionize the style of the brand, but rather to develop the collections, which are a continuity of the brand’s DNA already rich in colors, travel, humour,” said Antoine & Lili in a statement. Antoine & Lili open debut UK store in Kent

Antoine & Lili currently counts 15 stores in France, as well as two franchised locations in Geneva and Lausanne. The Parisian label also had an online platform.

Photos: Courtesy of Antoine & Lili

Bodgers of Iford confirms its future closure

The oldest department store in Ilford, Bodgers, has confirmed it is set to close down business for good in February 2018.

The store, owned by the Morleys Stores Group, has been in operation for 125 years but is set to shut down following irrecuperable losses. The business is set to enter into consultation with its 70 members of staff and is hoping to relocate them to other stores in its portfolio, which includes eight stores across London and South East.

"We have done everything we can over the last few years to improve profitability, including significantly reducing our cost base nevertheless we have been unable to reverse the decline, resulting in losses which are not sustainable in the long term," said managing director David Hordle on the closure.

He added that the Morleys Stores Group was not affected by the circumstances which ultimately led to the store's end and that they had always done their best to serve the local community. “We realise this is a very difficult time for the staff and their families and we are doing everything in our power to ensure the best possible outcome for them under the circumstances," he said to a local newspaper.

The department store first opened its doors in 1890 under name of its founder John Bodgers as a drapers. Over the years the store expanded its assortment and in 1959 it was acquired by its current owners.

Photo: Bodgers of Ilford, Facebook

Arket confirms opening date for second London store

Arket, the newest brand from the H&M Group, has confirmed that its second London store in Covent Garden will open on September 22.

The opening follows the brand’s launch on Regent Street in London last month and online in 18 European markets, as well as openings in Copenhagen and Brussels.

Located at 27-29 Long Acre, the new Arket store will house the brand’s “modern-day market” offering of menswear, womenswear, kidswear and homeware, as well as a larger cafe than the Regent Street store based on the New Nordic Food Manifesto.

“We’re very excited about opening our second Arket store in London,” said Lars Axelsson, managing director of Arket. “The historical Covent Garden district has a tradition of serving as a market that goes back centuries, so it feels like the perfect location for us.”

The Covent Garden store will open at 12 noon on September 22, and the first 100 customers will receive a special gift. In addition, there will be limited numbers of Arket’s first publication available on the day, prior to its official release.

Arket aims to be a “modern-day market” focusing on minimalistic and timeless wardrobe essentials, and will also be opening stores in Munich and Stockholm.

Image: courtesy of Arket

Within the discount market, clothing has been identified as the most “under-penetrated sector” according to GlobalData, with only 0.6 percent share of the 334 million pounds total UK clothing market.

However, GlobalData is stating that the improvement in perception of the discounters, such as Lidl, which just launched Esmara by Heidi Klum, will see the market value rise to 643 million pounds in 2022.

The report reveals that clothing at the discounters, identified as retailers which operate at a low price point, with high promotional activity and a number of offers at any one time, will undercut the value clothing providers such as Primark on many items, and will lead customers to switch away from the value retailers, particularly among the discounters’ current shopper base. With over 60 percent of UK consumers shopping at a discounter in 2017, the potential customer base for discount clothing is substantial.

“Clothing is more compatible with the discount model than it appears at first glance, particularly in the way that Lidl has approached its Esmara range” explains Molly Johnson-Jones, senior retail analyst at GlobalData. “The celebrity collaboration creates anticipation and a feeling of exclusivity away from the discount reputation of a store, and Lidl’s choice to focus on bold prints and colours was risky but it shifts the perception of the range more towards fast fashion than discount basics.”

Johnson-Jones added: “The products are designed to maintain margins at low prices and fit in with the existing supply chain and clothing adds another area for the discounters to grow sales and disrupt the mainstream market. Esmara might not be a threat to the clothing market now, but it will change consumer perception of discount clothing and taps into a niche which has been neglected so far.”

John Lewis launches try-before-you-buy experience

Over the weekend, John Lewis launched The Residence, the first ever fully furnished in-store apartment within its Oxford Street London, Liverpool and Cambridge stores offering customers the ultimate-try-before-you-buy experience.

The Residence offers customers the chance to stay overnight and host private dining experiences, while exploring the retailer’s product range, with everything from fashion to homewares, furniture and technology inside the apartment available to buy as part of the ‘Only Here’ autumn exclusives campaign.

John Lewis launches try-before-you-buy experience

Each Residence includes an expansive living and dining area, a fully furnished bedroom and the Oxford Street flagship store also features a fitted kitchen, a study and an indoor terrace that will overlook Cavendish Square. They have all been designed to showcase the characteristics of a home, such as a daily newspaper delivery, fresh coffee, its own scent and the sound of the radio in the background. With the cupboards and wardrobes featuring the latest autumn/winter products.

The spaces will be open daily for customers to try with The Residence expert team being on hand to encourage them to touch, rearrange, sit, play and try on the product.

John Lewis launches try-before-you-buy experience

For a select number of customers, Saturdays at The Residence will offer the ultimate night-at-the-museum style experience where they can apply for an overnight stay, which features a 60-minutes of after-hours private shopping time across the whole store, and an access-all-areas tour of the department store, including the underground stockroom.

John Lewis launches try-before-you-buy experience

John Lewis opens The Residence apartment try-before-you-buy experience

In addition, once a week at The Residence in Oxford Street customers will be able to apply to host their dream dinner party for up to ten people. During the privately catered experience a chef will prepare and serve a special menu with guests able to request their favourite cocktail.

John Lewis launches try-before-you-buy experience

They will also be able to pre-select their music playlist and choose their preferred table setting from the John Lewis collections. To end the evening, they can either while the night away with a selection of dinner party board games, or cosy up in front of one of the shop’s plasma screens.

At The Residence in Liverpool and Cambridge, customers will be able to apply to host their own private brunches. Every Saturday up to six guests will be able to have a two-hour dining experience including Mimosas and brunch dishes. Guests will receive a newspaper delivery of their choice and will be able to listen to morning radio as well as personal shopping advice from The Residence concierge.

John Lewis launches try-before-you-buy experience

The Residence will also host a series of free customer workshops where customers can “pop in” to learn niche skills for the home, from how to choose the duvet and pillow that best’s for them to a lightbulb masterclass, and tips on how to host parties at home.

Peter Cross, John Lewis director of customer experience, said: “We want our customers to discover an altogether different way of shopping. By encouraging them to bounce up and down on a bed and sit around a dressed dining table, we are aiming to create an environment which is a close as possible to their homes. Our expert partners will be on hand to help customers shop, explore, dine or even stay the night.”

Images: courtesy of John Lewis

Kate Spade to open first UK store outside London

American accessories and fashion label Kate Spade New York is to open its first full-price standalone store outside London at Bluewater in Kent this Christmas.

The global lifestyle brand will open a 1,600 square foot boutique on the lower Guildhall and will house the brand’s collection of handbags, small leather goods, apparel, footwear, fashion accessories, tech and stationery.

Kate Spade to open first UK store outside London

The Bluewater opening will mark the brand’s fifth full-price location in the UK, its London stores are based on Regent Street, Covent Garden, Sloane Square and Westfield London.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be opening our first store outside of London,” said Kate Spade president and chief creative officer Deborah Lloyd. “With a reputation as the leading retail and leisure destination in the UK, Bluewater was a clear choice for our first full-price store outside London. As an American brand with a global sensibility, we are looking forward to introducing the full breadth of the Kate Spade New York lifestyle offerings to new and existing brand fans in the region.”

Kate Spade to open first UK store outside London

Kate Spade New York secures 1,600 square foot store at Bluewater

To accommodate the Kate Spade store, British luxury lifestyle brand Aspinal of London has relocated to a new 1,300 square foot store on the upper Guildhall, which opened this month.

Robert Hardie, senior portfolio manager at Landsec, co-owner and asset manager of Bluewater, added: “This very strong level of demand from such aspirational retailers is a reflection of Bluewater’s appeal amongst affluent guests, for whom Bluewater provides a premium offer and experience. Along with other premium brands such as Michael Kors and The White Company, Bluewater offers a genuine alternative to central London.”

Kate Spade to open first UK store outside London

Kate Spade’s parent brand Coach is also due to open a store at the centre later this year.

Images: courtesy of Kate Spade New York

Huishan Zhang opens first London flagship store during LFW

Luxury fashion label Huishan Zhang opened the doors of its first standalone store in London’s Mayfair Monday afternoon, following it's on schedule presentation for Spring/Summer 2018 during London Fashion Week.

The debut flagship store, which is located on Mount Street, was designed in collaboration with interior designer Fran Hickman and takes design queues from the Huishan Zhang brand. Aiming to explore Eastern heritage with Western influences, the store was inspired by the considered ethos behind Chinese Gardens feeling private and personal. The store also features unique design elements, like British flowers embossed on the walls.

In addition to housing Huishan Zhang’s collection, the building is also home to the brand’s design studio which is open to customers for one-on-one appointments with the designer himself to create bespoke pieces.

Photo: courtesy of Huishan Zhang