The Marmite pop-up stores in Selfridges stores are an example of why location matters.
It’ll be Marmite for breakfast, lunch and dinner if Selfridges has its way in the run up to Christmas. The pop-up stores that it has put in all four of its stores look good and while they probably won’t be quite as popular as last year’s Regent Street eye-catcher, they will nonetheless do the job in terms of sales and brand awareness.
Well at least they will in the Birmingham and Manchester outlets, but you have to have misgivings about what’s going on in London. The non-London Marmite pop-ups are in prominent positions on the ground floor and were you to visit the Birmingham branch, for instance, it is where you’d expect it to be, in the food hall area.
Yet wander into the London store and it’s in the basement in possibly the least glamorous space you could find in what is debatably London’s most glamorous department store. It’s almost as if the decision has been taken to use Marmite to lift a part of the store that needs some eye-candy. Perhaps there may be some cold logic in this strategy, but if there is, it doesn’t appear to be working. Love it or hate it, putting a food brand in an area that previously had Dyson products in it doesn’t really have the smell of success about it.
And indeed, having visited Selfridges’s basement on two occasions last week, there was nobody having a look around the Marmite store. So here’s a simple proposal for the retail director at Selfridges. Why not put Marmite where it belongs, with the rest of the food in, or adjacent to, the food hall on the ground floor? The basement position will certainly garner a few sales, but given the footfall you have to imagine that a trick has been missed.
Once again, the Marmite store(s) will be around until December 25th, so if you want to see them in an appropriate and commercial setting, best drop in if you happen to be in Brum or Manchester.
On a totally unrelated note, Danish fashion retailer Jack & Jones opened a store on Oxford Street last week and providing you like denim, loud music and soft toys in the shape of indigo dogs, then you may well find this one to your liking. It’s been dubbed a “mega” store by the retailer, which does sound good, but in truth it’s nothing of the kind. In this instance, the term just means it’s bigger than some other Jack & Jones stores. ‘We’re opening a flagship on Oxford Street’ would probably have been the alternative - not much better really and neither are in fact true.