Flannels unveils "groundbreaking" flagship, adds beauty for first time
Frasers Group continues to be one of the most active large UK retailers as far as store openings are concerned and on Monday it unveiled its latest big development. The new branch of Flannels in Sheffield opened its doors covering 55,000 sq ft with women's and men's ready to wear and accessories, plus kidswear, activewear and — for the first time — beauty.
The company said it’s “the most digitally-enabled store in the North of England” and it added that it’s “rebelling against traditional ‘beauty hall’ models entirely and introducing new-to-market services including the world’s first Beauty Changing Rooms concept”.
The store is claimed to be “the biggest luxury retail investment in the city to date, with an investment upwards of £10 million”.
The company is aiming to open a further 10 flagship stores in the coming decade with “many due to be unveiled before 2025”. In the short term following Sheffield, it will open two new flagships, in Leicester and Liverpool. The Liverpool opening will be the first large-scale multi-brand luxury destination in the city. On Parker Street, and covering 120,000 sq. ft, it will take over the former Owen Owen department store building. Over seven floors, the Liverpool store will feature an “expansive” beauty destination, a rooftop restaurant and an entire floor dedicated to leisure, activewear and high-performance sportswear. This ‘World of Active’ conceptual space will also include a “trailblazing” fitness studio.
Back with Sheffield, the company said its first flagship store there “marks a pivotal moment for the business”. As well as the heavy focus on digital it’s a “significant investment in [the] city via the signing of a 15-year lease”.
And its new beauty move is said to “signify the company’s major and long-term investment into the category and illustrates the business’s commitment to bringing world-class experiences to audiences across the UK, in stark contrast to the London-centric strategy employed by department stores for hundreds of years”.
The new concept, dubbed Flannels Beauty, is based around “a modern understanding of how consumers engage with beauty – across multiple brands, price points, and a unique mix of heritage, challenger, exclusive and pharmacy brands”.
As well as the products themselves, the store will also contain “world-first cosmetic features to take beauty retail to the next level”. The Beauty Changing Rooms feature is an interactive, digitally-connected private space “designed to test, trial and play”. And there’s a “first-of-its-kind Flannels Beauty Bar, [plus] the latest ‘menu’ of trends, products and exclusive beauty collaborations”.
Of course, fashion remains hugely important for the new location and it will feature “an ever-evolving roster of fashion labels, alongside a world class food and beverage offering opening at the end of the summer”.
The retailer said it has moved “deeper into the contemporary [fashion] space”. The “uniquely ambitious, progressive fashion edit disregards the outdated notion, and brings new emerging names that currently only exist within [London]. Flannels Sheffield brings some of the fashion world’s most coveted avant-garde labels to the city, including Off-White, Saint Laurent, Fear of God and Talentless”. The store will also host an all-new 18 Montrose concept space “centred around a modern ‘hype edit’, the best of streetwear and exclusive collaborations”.
Michael Murray, Group Head of Elevation, said: “Opening the first of our new flagships boldly marks the new heights we’re reaching as part of our elevation strategy. We’re confident that we are introducing a truly world-class offering to Sheffield, and a beauty concept that disrupts the traditional.”
The retailer’s creative consultant and partner at luxury design firm Argent, Jack Bridges, added: “Sheffield marks the beginning of a concept we’ve been working intensively on for years. Flannels is looking to disrupt the city it exists within — whilst remaining flexible, agile and forward-thinking. Each store is different, with unique concepts and design features created exclusively for each new location. Gone are the days of static shopping environments; next-gen shoppers want fluidity and momentum.”
The chain now numbers 50 UK stores, including an Oxford Street, London flagship, and the regional flagships of which the new Sheffield store is one.
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