Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fashionable Flagship Sets the Trend

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fashionable Flagship Sets the Trend

Article excerpt

Byline: By Vicky Pepys

Vicky Pepys forays into flagships

We've been bandying the term `flagship store' around for a couple of weeks now with the opening of the new Red Mall at the MetroCentre.

Debenhams explained it rather well. Their flagship is a store large enough to house everything they offer and is comparable to their emporium on London's Oxford Street.

The announcement of four more flagship stores in the Red Mall; Mango, Zara, H&M and Bershka is therefore interesting.

"A true flagship is a destination store, it must stock the entire range, have the best location and interior, have a sense of retail theatre and must communicate the brand," says a recent issue of Marketing.

On further investigation, Zara says its MetroCentre outlet is not a flagship comparable to its London store. But perhaps it is a flagship for the region?

Bershka might be more than a flagship. It could be a concept store as it's the first one in the UK. H&M says its latest shop is "not a flagship ( but it is big!" And Mango isn't `flagship' either, theirs is in London's Oxford Street.

"It's River Island that is a true flagship store for the new Red Mall," says designer David Dalziel, co-founder of successful retail design company Dalziel & Pow.

"This new River Island is a `retail' flagship to build brand awareness and make a profit. It is comparable to the new Oxford Street store and is also a regional flagship. It will be the largest, most profitable and in the most prominent position. It's central within the region and will act as a hub to the other existing stores in Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Durham and Carlisle," he says.

Wallsend-born David (who despite moving to Glasgow is still one of Newcastle United's most ardent fans) has been the designer behind the look of River Island for over 17 years. He was the brains behind the re-invention of Chelsea Girl, which overnight became River Island with an increase in trade of almost 400pc.

"Many people didn't realise that River Island was Chelsea Girl. Much of the merchandise was the same, but within a different environment it became a huge success story," David explains.

An important point is made here. When we buy fashion, is the environment we buy in influencing us? Is it the interior designers that are influencing our purchase as much as the fashion designers? Is it a mixture of both?

Initially we are attracted by the look. Once we step inside we know if it is `us' within seconds. If it is, we'll probably make more than one purchase and come back for more.

David talks about it in terms of having "confidence in the brand."

"The more time you spend in it and experience it, how you circulate through the store, how much you dwell in one particular place, will influence how much you spend. …

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