Kate Spade to open at Bluewater by Christmas
It’s the brand’s first full-price store outside of London with the company saying it was attracted by Bluewater’s “reputation as the leading retail and leisure destination in the UK”.
Bluewater, located in North Kent near to the Ebbsfleet Eurostar station, is Europe’s biggest mall, and has a large and affluent catchment area, picking up business from locals as well as tourists and shoppers from the London area.
The new store will carry the brand’s full offer of handbags, small leathergoods, stationery, tech and its apparel collections. Located next to Jo Malone, it will open as Aspinal of London relocates to a slightly smaller unit in the Upper Guildhall.
The Kate Spade debut will give the brand five UK stores, including London’s Regent Street, Covent Garden, Sloane Square and Westfield.
Bluewater co-owner Landsec talked up the new signing, highlighting other high-end US brands that have chosen to open in Bluewater recently, including Kate Spade’s new owner Coach and beauty brand Smashbox.
Robert Hardie, senior portfolio manager at Landsec, said: “This very strong level of demand from such aspirational retailers is a reflection of Bluewater’s appeal among affluent guests, for whom [it] 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.”
And the new announcement certainly underscores a gradual move upmarket for Bluewater. At its opening in 1999, it was positioned as offering a more upscale brand mix than other rival malls. Yet for much of its history the mass- to mid-market selection has easily outweighed the higher-end labels, although the absence of large-scale lower-priced stores such as Primark, Peacocks and (formerly) BHS has helped dit maintain its more aspirational profile.
And a spate of recent moves has certainly upped its premium and affordable luxury appeal. Meanwhile, other changes such as The White Company relocating to a much larger store there, Gap including its denim customisation offer in its new, also relocated, regional flagship, and Misguided opening its first store outside London have certainly boosted Bluewater’s overall appeal.
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