Southampton is slowly establishing itself as an unlikely hotbed for retail reinvention.
John Lewis’ “experience playground” launched in the city’s Westquay shopping centre in November as it ramped up its focus on services, not just shopping.
A five-mile drive East over the River Itchen is Hedge End, which plays host to a clutch of other retailers giving their glimpses into the future of bricks and mortar.
Next launched one of its biggest out-of-town stores here a number of years ago, which has evolved to host a Costa Coffee, a WHSmith Stationery concession and shop-in-shops from O2 and Virgin Holidays.
A stone’s throw away, an increasingly ferocious grocery war is raging.
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