Ollie & Nic, which has three UK stores at present, will target big cities such as Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham initially. It will focus on smaller towns for the second stage of its roll-out.
The retailer opened a store last week at Foubert’s Place, off Carnaby Street in London, which will provide a blueprint for the expansion. The new store design, created by design company Leckenby, uses an eclectic mix of materials, mid-century modern furniture and wallpaper.
“We wanted the store to have a Pandora’s box-type feel to it. We want customers to feel like the store is one big dressing table and there are all sorts of things to discover in all corners,” said Ollie & Nic director Nick Hill.
“We also wanted it to feel a bit tongue-in-cheek so customers feel comfortable browsing.”
Ollie & Nic has enlisted property agent CWM to find stores of about 650 sq ft. It will open at Bristol’s Cabot Circus scheme in the autumn and will refurbish existing stores with the same design as its Foubert’s Place store.
The retailer’s web site will also be overhauled in September to include new interactive features. “We already have a transactional site, but we’re hoping to include some tools on researching gifts and to make the site more user-friendly,” said Hill.
Hill, who set up Ollie & Nic with his wife Jane in 2002, said customers respond well to the brand because it stands out on the high street. “While the economic climate is difficult at the moment, we believe that, for some customers, there is a move away from value,” he said.
“Our customers really buy into the Ollie & Nic lifestyle and our brand is cherished because it’s a little different to the norm. You don’t necessarily see that elsewhere on the high street.”