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Asics to open new flagship store on Regent Street ahead of UK push

By Vivian Hendriksz

4 May 2017

Retail |EXCLUSIVE

Sportswear label Asics is set to open a new flagship store on London's Regent Street this year, as the brand looks to expands its presence in the UK. The flagship store will be the first store from the Japanese sportswear brand to bring together all of Asics performance and lifestyle brands under one roof and will be the first UK store to feature part of the brand's new retail concept.

At the moment Asics currently count 3 stand alone stores in London, as well as one outlet store in Wembley. The new two storey flagship store, which will open at the former French Connection location on 249-251 Regent Street, is set to offer Asics full range, as well as Asics Tiger, Onitsuka Tiger and Häglofs collections. "We have signed a lease for Regent Street. It will be the first store to bring together all Asics brands," said Scott Wakefield, Retail Director for Asics to FashionUnited at the opening of its new flagship store in Amsterdam. "The store will partly feature Asics new concept (the Performance section), and the other brand sections are set to reflect the current store concept. This new concept will also be launched in Asics shop-in-shops."

Asics to open flagship store on Regent Street

The new store concept, which was designed by London-based design agency Brinkworth, aims to reflect Asics roots in running and Japanese heritage. Open spaces with natural lighting, real plants and warm colours, as well as a blend of natural and man-made materials are all key aspects to Asics new store concept. "The store concept offers products and services to runners, as well as the younger generation of all-round active enthusiast and fitness explorers," added Wakefield. The new concept, which was first debuted in Asics store in Brussels last December, is currently being implemented in Asics stores around the world, including Brisbane, Australia, New York, US and Berlin, Germany.

Asics new Regent Street store opening comes as the brand turns its focus to expanding its presence in key locations in order to compete with rivals such as Nike and Adidas."It is a competitive business. Nike, Adidas and Puma excel in their sport lifestyle offering, and no one does that better," said Asics European CEO Alistair Cameron to FashionUnited. "Adidas in particular is on fire. They offer a lifestyle ideal which connects very well with millennials. However, our strength is in the technical and performance side. We must make our products, which are highly qualitative, more visually attractive now. Everyone wants to look better and there is no reason why our products should not look nice." According Alistair Asics retain a 40 percent share of the European market, although it varies depending on location.

Asics to expand its presence in the UK

At the moment Asics is investing in both product innovation and enhancing its retail experience with its new store concept. But in addition to opening a new flagship store on Regent Street, which will exist alongside of the brand's stores on Argyll Street and Oxford Street, Asics also aims to open a number of stand alone stores across the UK to strengthen its local presence. According to Alistair. the brand sees big potential in becoming a stronger player in the country, in spite of the current challenges it faces. "Britain remain a difficult market. The distribution system in this market has been destroyed and it's hard to achieve significant turnover here because the cost of business is very high," said Alistair.

"We could be stronger in the British market, that I will honestly admit. Which us why we are looking at how we can achieve that. We will be opening a new store on Regent Street soon, as there are 35 million people in London, so we can have more stores there. We also plan on opening more stores in the South and East of Britain." Asics is seen as one of the oldest sportswear brands. Founded in 1949 by Kihachiro Onitsuka, the brand is best known for its high performance running shoes.

Photos: Asics

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