River Island kicks off flagship programme with 'experience' store at Landsec’s White Rose
River Island is planning to open a number of new flagship stores this year and it’s starting with a major upsize at Landsec’s White Rose Shopping Centre in Leeds.
It will open this Saturday and will include the brand’s largest single-floor womenswear department in the UK.
The launch of the new concept store is the first of five new flagships planned for 2018 that will be a mix of completely new locations and extensive revamps.
The new Leeds store will also feature an extended kids department with its own entrance from the mall, as well as the brand’s latest menswear range.
And the space increase is certainly significant, going from 9,000 sq ft to an almost-tripled total of 26,000 sq ft.
Given that this is 2018 and that experiences and online shopping are so important, it's no surprise that the company will also introduce customers to new in-store experiences for the first time. They will include River Island’s dedicated click-and-collect service centre and the retailer’s in-store DJ concept.
The design will allow professional DJs to set up in-store “to deliver a unique customer experience throughout the year by playing live sets during specific events.”
The DJ concept is further evidence of how the biggest ‘supermalls’, and indeed the biggest chains with the deepest pockets, are best placed to maximise the opportunities being seen in the retail sector in which experiences are more important than they have ever been.
Frances Baker, River Island’s Property Director, said: “Our strategy is about being in the best locations, at the best retail and leisure schemes, and, boosted by on-going investment from Landsec, White Rose undoubtedly falls into that category. We’re keen to continue to innovate the in-store experience we provide, and the success we’ve had at White Rose made it a perfect candidate for us to expand and showcase our latest products and in-store concepts.”
White Rose has seen major development in the last year with a number of new leisure tenants also boosting the experience element of visits to the mall. And 2017 also saw Next investing £6 million in a new and enhanced 51,500 sq ft flagship, nearly double the size of its previous store in Leeds. Meanwhile Superdry launched a new concept there, and jeweller Beaverbrooks carried out a major refurbishment of its existing store.
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