From Foyles to Anthropology: The “Lure” of Eccentric retailing Last week, in a further example of market consolidation, the UK’s leading book retailer Waterstones bought up the Foyles bookstore business. This included the famous Charing Cross Road store, recently moved and re-furbished. The stories surrounding Foyles are no less than retail folklore. They help to explain its survival, the re-naissance of Waterstones and the revival of many independent book shops.-
On a street synonymous with literature a new chapter has been written in the tumultuous tale of the traditional bookstore. Foyles may have physically moved only metres, but as a concept it has made a journey that brings it into a new century and a completely different world.
No more so than in the tactile world of books has the impact of the omnichannel presence been felt. The bookstore format has not only had to fight new channels to browse and buy books, but also ground breaking new media on which to transport, translate and digest the content itself. From Shelley to Shakespeare, Byron to Betjeman poetic injustice indeed.
However to every action a reaction, and Foyles has reacted by embracing and creating a literary third place, between the technological tedium of the workplace, and the socially connected chaos of the home; a place where time can be celebrated and cherished with a book, an exhibition, a conversation or a solitary moment in this world of the written word.
The new building is an architectural marvel, with is central atrium carving a cultural breath of fresh literal air through the many levels of laden shelving. Through the midst of material each floor forms a labyrinth for exploration and delight, dotted with bestseller displays, social oases, comfortable couches, exhibition spaces, communal cafes, the lure of a classic vinyl store for Jazz buffs, and a celebration of classical sheet music second to none.
For lovers of books the new Foyles heads straight to the heart.
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