The Rebirth Of The Department Store: 5 Game-Changing Trends We Can See In Luxury Retail
What are the top 5 ways that department stores are driving through the retail evolution in stores … [+]GETTY IMAGES
With French President, Emanuel Macron in attendance, the long-awaited reopening of La Samaritaine known as ‘the temple of Parisian lifestyle’ was 7 years in the making.
Owners LVMH, the global luxury conglomerate, purchased the iconic, glass-roofed building in 2001, and the concept delivers on a myriad of luxury touchpoints.
But what can we learn from the strategy behind the relaunch of the 20,000 square meter retail space and other landmark retail destinations across the globe, at a time when we have witnessed record numbers of store closures around the world.
You don’t have to shop in a store anymore, the surge of online shopping and ongoing evolution of the efficiency in the channel has put pay to that – you have to want to shop in a physical store.
https://d4cab3f1573529d490c65a413648bd4d.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html And when it comes to luxury goods, that desire has to come from being more than just a product or a service purchase.
We have heard this before, and seen a heavy roll-out of food eateries and nail bars squeezed into every possible retail location – from the Primark concept store nestled on the edge of the Bullring in Birmingham, to Soho House bringing their premium spa concept The Cowshed to Selfridges in London.
But surely we can’t just expect another era of the space-filling, which has all been done before, particularly in beauty halls.
At the new La Samaritine there is a raison d’ etre to this ideal: “It was important to make a store that would be differentiating, given the competitive environment in Paris, so we conceived it as a place for living and strolling,” says Eléonore de Boysson, president of DFS, Europe and the Middle East.
It may be one of the smaller Parisian department stores but the concept and ambition seems mighty. Naturally there is a hair salon, beauty parlour and spa designed with luxury for a luxe loving consumer, for example, the spa is a new collaboration with Dior.
Yet beyond beauty, there is a lot more in development for a new era of experience retail. At Selfridges in London, an intriguing concept was launched today.
In line with the strong drive to incorporate more environmentally focussed initiatives, the department store has announced the launch of “The Garden Centre”.
In partnership with horticulturist Angela Maynard, this Selfridges collection has been curated to include gardening gear, expert advice and a dedicated podcast for green-fingered fans.
Food, glorious food
Any department store worth its salts knows the value of food and just how much a great culinary experience can add to the bottom line. Extended dwell time in store can lead to greater spend – but we are now entering an era way beyond a traditional cup of tea and slice of cake.
At Selfridges, Dior are part of the action once more, with a take-over in the Alto by San Carlo restaurant. Diners can enjoy summer feasting on the roof top with the Instagram-worthy seating and setting designed by the fashion house in its famous toile.
There are many other food offerings in the Oxford Street, London store, including HIVE, a honey-based concept restaurant with occasional fine dining experiences with chefs like Claude Bosi, and a sweet nectar themed experience from breakfast through to dinner menus. The restaurant is located next to a large window area showing off the live hives and honey bees that have had a warm welcome back into the West End of London.
Rent the catwalk, resell the catwalkDepartment stores are embracing all the rental and resell market opportunity can bring. Resale and … [+] WIREIMAGE
Department stores are embracing all the rental and resell market opportunities possible. Resale and rental models are incredibly popular with an audience that has a growing awareness of the implications of the fashion lifecycle. Retailers know that they must either find a way to embrace it – or potentially lose customers to other businesses that thrive on the monetization of this secondary market.
Rent the Runway announced a partnership with Nordstrom, adding a greater amount of pick up and drop off locations.
Selfridges has partnered with HURR to offer a clothing and accessories rental services pop-up, described by HURR founder Victoria Prew as, “Akin to an Airbnb model in which we connect lenders and renters.”
Shoppers can browse and select items in-store or choose from over 7,000 items on the HURR website, which also enables lenders to make some cash from hiring out their own items.
Items include designer gowns and stand-out occasionwear, but renters beware – even if your event is struck by a Covi-induced cancellation, a chunky cancellation fee may still be payable.
Certainly everything is not perfect in the world of department store rental and resell – but it seems clear that this will be an area that retailers look to when the traditional sales floor requires some innovation.
Internationally impressive, local at heart
Relaunching during a global pandemic has clearly focused the Samaritaine offer on just how important the local economy is to the plan.
Eléonore de Boysson, president of DFS said, “It’s important for us that Parisians come back to this place that is so special to them, that they first come out of curiosity and return because they find the experience amazing.” And if Parisians give the store the stamp of approval – then tourists keen to have a full and authentic experience of the slick French capital, will swiftly follow, when travel permits.
Doing the right thing
Head into Selfridges from one of its Oxford entrances and you’ll see two words suspended in its infamous ‘rose’ yellow – LET’S CHANGE.
The stores Duke Street elevation houses the remainder of this sentence – THE WAY WE SHOP.
The impactful message marks the presence of the retailer’s ‘Project Earth’ initiative, which will see Selfridges work with its suppliers and brand partners to boost the sustainability credentials of its product offering, while it works to become more circular in its model, through offering a new range of in-store repair, reuse and recycling services.
It remains to be seen whether these efforts will strike a longlasting and successful chord with the designer-goods-loving international department store fans, but one things for sure – the department store as we knew it could well be dead. But green (or yellow) shoots are certainly showing through.