John Lewis features heavily in the innovation accolades category, a pioneer in format development, developer of own brand and most noticeably in the omni-channel world at the vanguard of click and collect, next day delivery and a host of customer focused initiatives.
It was then only a matter of travel time before the retailer brought its impressive armoury into the highly competitive but lucrative airport locations with a compact proposition, creaming from its enormous assortment an array of impulse items, British classics, seasonal souvenirs and timeless brands.
Best sellers come in all shapes and sizes from Cuban boots to Peruvian bears. Selfridges always captures the popular crowd-pleases, presenting them with aplomb, enjoyment and emotional experience. A retailer always with a large slice of sticky trickery tucked under its considerable commercial hat.
Travellers to US malls will be fully familiar with American Eagle as the “Man on the Streets” call to casual clothing. Affordable and accessible in contrast to some of its more narcissistic neighbours it has built up a loyal following with its classic collection of denim, hoodies, sweats and T’s.
You would have had to have been, appropriately enough, buried head first in the snows of Antarctica not to have noticed that the John Lewis Christmas icon is a penguin. To be accurate he is an Adelie penguin and his name is Monty. He has been the star of the retailer’s Christmas advertising campaign and window displays and you have as much chance of buying one in John Lewis as you have of finding a giraffe at the South Pole.
White Stuff, the purveyor of distinctive quality fashion has found a home.
Its new concept store is modelled on a 2-storey Edwardian house complete with majestic flowing staircase, authentic wooden floor tiles, grand open fireplaces with festive stockings, and more ornaments and implements than you would usually expect in even the most, not so average, abode.
The Albion café come restaurant in so cool Shoreditch recreates to the finest detail the community eating experience of post war Britain complete with clinical lighting, laminate tables, squeaky seats and classic condiments from the essential Heinz to the classic Coleman’s.
And this classy concept cuts the mustard with a tasty menu of classic fayre from plump pies and hearty soups, to quantity quiche and bowls of chips that tempt the very ketchup bottles themselves to jump into auto-mode. The cream on the rice pudding is a price that pleases and a fine finish to a retro bistro bun-fight that finds tables filling with traditional tipping, with saucers and plates piled high with appreciative offerings.
Ale-Hop literally bursts with colour and creativity. Never have so many of so few made such a visual impact as in the explosion of excitement that literally fills every wall with Wow!
Each proposition is powerful and bold, proof that underneath the apparent anarchy a slide rule strategy is applied option by option, colour by colour, product enhancement by profit-producing product enhancement.
A colour, graphic explosion lights up the latest store incarnation of Pull & Bear, the young casual concept from Inditex. But this is no blind leading the colour blind, no random application of hues and tones to randomly revive a fading friend. In a very cool but classic way Pull & Bear has combined the innocence of classic times with the dynamic technology of today.
Stradivarius makes its first public performance in the biggest venue in town, Westfield Stratford, as the Inditex family sends forth another member making “bridgeheads” and “inroads” into the UK mainland.
As with all consummate professionals Stradivarius can’t fail to impress and delight its audience as it pitches the high notes of current fashion, with the commercial rhythm of bestsellers, to the vibrant beat of the fashion basic base line.
To this commercially heady concoction Zara has added authority and range, creating expansive coordinated collections with newness but not the unapproachable novelty often associated with it. Against its blanket of trademark white, the subtlety of oranges, greens, blues and purples presents stunning assortments, combining a wider array of accessories from candles to coat hangers, vases to Venetian blinds.