Next to boost footfall with O2 concessions in its stores
Encouraging footfall, by whatever means, is key to the success of physical stores these days and Next is aiming to boost its visitor traffic in select stores in a deal with O2.
It means Next shoppers will be able to buy a new smartphone or renew their O2 contract at the same time as they buy some clothes or homewares, or even as they pick up an order they’ve placed online.
The company has around 500 stores, but only two trial locations have the 650 sq ft O2 concessions in them so far (Warrington and Southampton), although two more (Swindon and Nottingham) will debut next month.
Deals such as this don’t only boost visitor traffic though. There’s the fee that concessionaires pay, of course, and they also help physical retailers make best use of the expensive space in their stores.
Next has shown itself to be one of the most active names on this front with some of its key stores, which used to be solely about its own fashion and homewares, now hosting coffee shops for Costa and Cafe Nero, stationery retailer Paperchase, travel firms Virgin Holidays and Tui, furniture specialist Hammonds, carmaker Ford, make-up brand Inglot and pasta bar Gino D’Acampo, and even a florist in its Manchester flagship.
A number of long-established retailers including Next, plus M&S and the major department stores, find themselves facing a radically changed retail landscape with very large store estates and the need to squeeze as much revenue out of every square foot as they can, and deals with other businesses such as this is a key way forward.
And a similar approach is being taken by the UK's giant supermarkets. Sainsbury’s, for instance, has linked up with fashion retailer Oasis to host concessions in its supermarkets, and also has moved many of the Argos shops that it owns into its food stores. Meanwhile rival Tesco has a deal with Arcadia, among others.
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