Selfridges Opens reFASHIONed Theatre

Selfridges Shakespeare reFASHIONed window


To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, Selfridges has unveiled a 122-seat auditorium in the department store’s Oxford Street flagship. This week the pop-up in-store theatre opened to shoppers and theatre-goers alike.


The auditorium can be found on the lower ground floor in the Oxford Street store, which is the second largest retail premises in the UK. Over a five week period, the reFASHIONed theatre will be showcasing a production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. The project is a collaboration between Selfridges and established young British theatre company, The Faction.


“This play offers a world in which fashion, appearance and social standing are of paramount importance and rumour, gossip and insinuation can be lethal,” said Mark Leipacher, director.


“Everyone at The Faction is delighted to be collaborating with Selfridges to create this new production for the Shakespeare reFASHIONed project. It’s an ambitious, innovative and wild idea – exactly the way we should be celebrating Shakespeare 400.”


It is said the run of performances is to be the penultimate stage of Selfridges’ store-wide campaign. In celebration of the world’s most famous playwright, Selfridges has hosted a variety of events in-store throughout the summer. The events include recitals by celebrities, Shakespeare-inspired collections from the likes of Alexander McQueen, and a run of campaign windows.


Selfridges Shakespeare Window Display


The department store believes this is the first ever fully-fledged theatre within a department store.


Tickets at full price cost £20.

John Lewis to Invest £9m in Beauty Department

John Lewis acts on rising demand for beauty ranges

John Lewis Department Store


John Lewis has launched a £9m investment to go into its beauty department across several branches. The retailer is looking to supercharge its beauty business as a result of the fashion department being out sold by face creams, makeup and perfumes. Furthermore, the development will include the introduction of new brands.


Stores in Cambridge, Cribbs Causeway, and Bluewater will have their beauty halls increased by about 50%. While stores in Cardiff, Stratford, Peter Jones and Cheadle are also receiving investments in their beauty halls.


Also included in the plans is the distribution of existing popular brands. These will include Chanel, M.A.C, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Tom Ford Beauty, Charlotte Tilbury, Jo Malone, Urban Decay, and La Prairie. You’ll be able to find these brands on the department store’s website. They will be available via click & collect and many will feature in the two new stores to come. The first will be opening in Chelmsford on 29th September. While the other will be opening in Leeds on 20th October.


“Beauty is one of the best performing categories at John Lewis and a significant football driver, so this investment is a reflection of our ambition in this space,” buying director for fashion and beauty at John Lewis, Ed Connolly said. “We are continuing to bring new and contemporary brands to our customers across both fashion and beauty, and we have one of the widest and best beauty selections of any department store in the world.”


The news has come as no surprise as John Lewis has joined a number of retailers, including Marks & Spencer, and supermarkets, such as Sainsbury’s, in expanding their beauty ranges due to rising demand.


In contrast, fashion retailers aren’t doing so well. They have hit a rough patch that saw 2015 autumn and winter sales hit by the warm weather. More recently the wet and chilly start to summer 2016 forced many chains into early discounting.


The John Lewis refurbishments will be complete by the end of October later this year.

Penhaligon’s Boutique Opens at Bluewater

Penhaligon's Storefront


Traditional British perfumers, Penhaligon’s, has opened their first standalone store in the South East. The retail and leisure destination Bluewater is now home to the new 253 sq ft boutique. The store offers the brand’s full range of fragrances and grooming products. The Kent based store is one of a handful of Penhaligon’s standalone stores in the UK.


“We are very pleased to have opened our doors at Bluewater and begun trading at such a popular destination. We look forward to sharing our passion for fragrance via this first regional store, and introducing people to our unusual and distinctive collection of fragrances and grooming products,” said Lance Patterson, chief executive of Penhaligon’s.


Penhaligon’s has joined a prestigious line-up of some of the world’s biggest brands found at the South East shopping centre. The perfumers are on the lower Guildhall next to fashion brand Reiss.


In addition to fragrances, Penhaligon’s also sells a range of bath and body products. Another product they offer is candles.


“The store opening is a wonderful addition to the lower Guildhall and Bluewater’s premium offer as a whole,” the portfolio director at Land Securities, co-owner and asset manager of Bluewater, Russell Loveland said. “Penhaligon’s is a distinguished brand, which will heighten Bluewater’s stellar line-up and further distinguish the centre as a leading retail and leisure destination.”


Other recent openings at Bluewater include Jigsaw, Tesla, Mint Velvet, LK Bennett, and the signing of Michael Kors.



Panoramic of Bluewater shopping centre
Bluewater Shopping Centre 2009

Bluewater covers 240 acres. Included in the space is the six car parks that provide over 13,000 spaces. As a result, the shopping centre is the fourth largest in the UK. Only MetroCentre, Trafford Centre and Westfield Stratford City are bigger. While elsewhere in Europe only Cevahir Mall and Shopping City Süd are bigger. Inside you’ll find 300 stores, over 60 bars, restaurants and cafes along with a cinema screen and 3 anchor stores.


JD Sports Considering Takeover of Rival Chain

Storefront for JD Sports

Sporting goods retailer, JD Sports, is said to be continuing its ambitious growth plans due to reports stating they are eyeing up an acquisition of competitors Go Outdoors.


JD Sports fashion, which has a market value of over £2.5bn, is one of “a number of bidders” considering offers for Go Outdoors, according to Sky News.


The privately-owned business was put up for sale despite its rapid growth with sales rising by 20% between 2014 and 2015. It is understood the auction process for Go Outdoors will be ran by KPMG.


If the acquisition were to be successful then JD Sports would become the London stock market’s biggest sporting goods retailer, having already overtaken Sports Direct as the UK’s largest sports retailer. It is reported JD Sports sales have been surging lately with a big boost from the Euro 2016 football tournament, despite England’s surprise early exit.


Go Outdoors owns about 60 stores across the country and they sell products such as tents, bicycles, and waterproof clothing.


Go Outdoors’ fate will be decided by the end of the year.

Westfield World Trade Centre Opens to the Public

Inside the World Trade Centre

Located in Lower Manhattan, the Westfield World Trade Centre opened to the public on Tuesday 16th August. Expectations are high for the new 34,000sq m shopping centre as people imagine it will be one of the world’s most visited retail destinations. Experts believe it should be generating three times the sales of a standard suburban mall.

The shopping centre can be found inside the World Trade Centre Transportation Hub which was designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava. It offers a vast variety of more than 100 global and local beauty, lifestyle, fashion, and technology brands. The Westfield World Trade Centre is one of the most diverse retail collections in New York City. Alongside retail you will also find restaurant concepts, events and entertainment, cutting-edge technology showrooms, and arts and culture.

Westfield Sign

“The World Trade Centre is a symbol of hope, opportunity, progress, and perseverance,” says Westfield’s chief operating officer in the United States, William Hecht. “Westfield is profoundly proud to be a part of this project and to introduce new experiences and energy to Lower Manhattan. We are incredibly excited to open our doors to our neighbours, New York and tri-state area families, visitors, and all of our community partners.”

Westfield Storefronts

Included in the shopping centre is Apple and Bose providing the technology.

H&M, Boss Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Kate Spade, John Varvatos, L.K. Bennett will be offering fashion.

Delivering the beauty is Dior Cosmetics, Kiehl’s, Sephora, MAC, and Caudalie.

For footwear you can find Stuart Weitzman, Cole Haan, Aldo, and Vince Camuto.

For jewellery there’s Breitling, London Jewellers, Links of London, and Swatch.

Disney and Kingkow are there for the children’s category.

Waitrose Opens UK’s First Cashless Store in Sky HQ

Waitrose Cashless Store

Waitrose has become the first major supermarket brand to open a cashless store in the UK. The new store is the second smallest Waitrose has opened. The 1,400sqft supermarket store is second to the 520sqft Waitrose store which opened in 1998. These are the only two office-based stores which Waitrose has. The new cashless store can be found within Sky’s new flagship head office based in Osterley, whereas the latter can be found in the British Airways Waterside HQ in Harmondsworth.

The Sky employees will only be able to pay via their mobile devices or by card. The pure digital format is expected to be followed by other major supermarkets and general retailers in the future.

The project was first announced back in March but the Waitrose store which features 5 checkouts is now catering for over 3500 staff within the building.

Sky HQ

Before development began Waitrose sat with groups of Sky employees and asked what it was that they wanted the store to offer. They found in their research that the staff wanted food to go and evening meals.

Here’s what can be found in the John Lewis-owned grocer:
• Sandwiches
• Wraps
• Sushi
• Evening meals
• Celebration Cakes
• Fresh Flowers
• Freshly baked bread and croissants
• Cupboard staples

Starbucks Opens First European Express Store in London

Starbucks Express Store

July 20th saw the opening of the first Starbucks express store in Europe within London’s Canary Wharf district. Customers will be able to order, pay and pick up a lot faster thanks to the new open layout which features a walk-through experience and a streamlined menu at an early order point.

The store provides a welcoming environment placing the barista and customer at it’s heart. “We recognise some of our customers, especially busy commuters in Canary Wharf, are moving at a fast pace and want efficient, high-quality service whatever the time of day,” said Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa operations vice president Rhys Iley.

The new store was designed for people on-the-go who want Starbucks products, coupled with the efficiency that comes with knowing what the customers want.

Starbucks Express Store - Counter

The streamlined menu is displayed on digital menu boards which were made to rotate throughout the day and Mobile Order & Pay has been integrated for customers who want to order ahead. “The new express format is the latest in our evolving store portfolio, which aims to meet the needs of our customers while keeping our baristas at the heart of the customer experience,” added Iley.

The London launch was a result of the successful express format store openings in New York, Toronto and Chicago.

First Units for CARGO have Arrived

CARGO Visual


Wapping Wharf, Bristol, has welcomed the first shipping containers to be used for CARGO. This will be Bristol’s first retail yard made from repurposed containers. The aim of the project was to create a vibrant foodie quarter for the city with a strong community focus. The plans for the new retail container hub were approved back in March.

Fast forward to August and units are now being delivered on site!


CARGO Under Construction


CARGO will be located between Gaol Ferry Steps and Museum Square in Wapping Wharf, found in Bristol. Wapping Wharf is Bristol’s new harbourside quarter. It will include more than 600 new homes accompanied with retail units once complete.


CARGO Computer Image


The new retail concept will include a CARGO 1 and a CARGO 2. The latter was added to the plans due to the overwhelming demand as over 40 retailers made enquiries early on.

Stuart Hatton, director at Umberslade and developer of CARGO said: “It is hugely exciting to be involved in bringing a new retail concept to Bristol with the arrival of CARGO. This is a first for the city and will bring something unique to its vibrant independent retail scene. We are thrilled that Wapping Wharf has attracted such an eclectic mix of food and drink venues.”


CARGO Computer Image


Woky Ko, Chicken Shed, Pigsty, Lovett Pies, Bristol Cider Shop, BOX-E, Corks of Cotham, Shambarber, and The Mighty Quinns Flower Emporium are just a few of the independent retailers who you will be able to find in the retail container hub.




CARGO 1 is expected to open in September and 2 will open to the public later this autumn.


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