Debenhams is banking on a prosecco bar, an exclusive designer department and a shimmering façade to woo more international customers into its flagship Oxford Street store.
The department store gave Retail Week a glimpse at plans for its new store which marketing director Richard Cristofoli said would entice more international shoppers into store.
He said: “It’s a key beacon for the brand internationally and our plans to grow. Around 50% of visitors in store are tourists. I have no doubt that this will increase.”
N+1 Singer analyst Matthew McEachran believes the £25m revamp, which also opens up 18% more trading space according to Cristofoli, will add £5m to the bottom line year-on-year.
Food and leisure will play an increasingly important part of the new flagship store with a prosecco bar and bistro situated in the revamped shoe hall basement, a family friendly British gastro restaurant and a café.
Cristofoli said: “It’s an absolutely core part of the store which will increase dwell time. People love a day out and a catch up.”
The retailer is launching a dedicated shoe hall as it vies to take on rivals Selfridges and House of Fraser, which have recently revamped their footwear departments. The shoe hall adds 2,700 sq ft to Debenhams footwear offer which is a category in which the retailer is targeting growth.
It is also creating an upmarket ‘Designer Hall’ for its Designer at Debenhams collection which Cristofoli described as the “jewel in its crown”. The area will be marked out as premium with a dark, slated tile area and will take up half of the second floor.
Cristofoli said the revamp, which includes an innovative ‘Kinetic Façade’ that moves in response to the wind, was much needed.
“The presentation of our brand has been suboptimal [at the Oxford Street flagship] for some time. It will lead to a dramatic reappraisal of our brand and offer,” he said.
Cristofoli said it will look to roll-out key elements of the revamped store to other stores, particularly its regional flagships.