Not content with offering a Store of the Week, Retail Week Interiors brings you the top stores that have been given this title over the past 12 months.
Selecting the best of the best from a year’s worth of Retail Week Store of the Weeks is obviously an intensely personal matter. The fact that a shop is worthy of the title is in itself a matter for minor celebration – there are many candidates during the course of any 12-month period. Choosing from the past year’s collection is therefore something of a beauty contest, but nonetheless, what follows are very good stores, albeit there will inevitably be those who might quibble about the choice that has been made.
And there are two points worth noting. Firstly, the international nature of the stores that appear means this really is a global selection and 25% of those that have been chosen are pop-ups. This should not perhaps be surprising as necessity being the mother of invention, creativity flows when funds are limited. It may also explain why almost all of the inclusions, with the exception of the Mexican department store, are from the middle market. Luxury does not generally imply huge creativity when it comes to store design and indeed may even mean an innate conservatism.
At a time when money is under pressure in every quarter, it is reassuring that store design does not appear to be falling victim to cutbacks and, where it is, that ways are still being found to fashion interiors and exteriors that continue to appeal.
A kid’s clothing store that feels like a child’s book and which, in spite of being a 3D interior, has a 2D quality about it. This is perhaps the simplest Store of the Week to have made in into the pages of Retail Week this year, yet it is among the most unusual.
El Palacio de Hierro, Mexico City
El Palacio de Hierro is a Mexican department store group that targets the country’s affluent, brand-loving middle-class. The store in Mexico City demonstrates the way in which upscale contemporary design is becoming an international currency that is generally accepted across the globe.
Loblaws, Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto
Food retailing appears in three of the entries and, if drama is sought, this is the hands-down winner among the supermarkets. Housed in a former ice hockey stadium in downtown Toronto, the combination of red floors, massive graphics and staged lighting make an experience out of the simple matter of shopping for food.
Reischmann, Kempten, Germany
Looking and feeling like the interior of an oversized Alpine log cabin, the Reischmann store in Kempten contradicts conventional ideas of what a sports retailing interior should be. Brown leather chairs, a ponyskin rug, pine cladding and an open fire contribute to the overall ambiance and, while this might seem an architectural cliché, it is rescued by the building’s sculptural interior.
Whole Foods Market, Glasshouse Street, London
The US retailer loved by foodies in its home country had a patchy start to life in Europe when its Kensington High Street leviathan, the former Barkers department store, failed to catch on immediately with London’s shoppers. Now almost half a decade on, this new, smaller branch may be the formula that will open up opportunities for Whole Foods Market in Europe.
Não do Brasil, Berlin
Sometimes, the best visual merchandising is carried out by making the product do all of the work. Não do Brasil, situated in the German capital, shows this in action with a seemingly endless array of different coloured sports footwear grouped together by price and arranged along a curving perimeter. The mid-shop is left empty, allowing shoppers to peruse the whole offer merely by turning on their heels.
Mini pop-up, Westfield Stratford City, London
Stringing up a car on the outside of a building is a sure-fire way of getting noticed, but there is rather more to the Mini pop-up store than this. Within, this is an exercise in interactivity, featuring kiosks where you can dress in Mini clothing, mirrors that change your shape and flatscreens that allow you to design your own (Mini) car. This pop-up will be in place for a year.
United Nude pop-up, Knightsbridge
Famed for the architectural nature of both its footwear and stores, United Nude has opened a pop-up in Knightsbridge that will be in place for a year and which takes its principle of a ‘dark store’ – a place where only the stock is lit, and puts it into a temporary space. This store, like others in the chain, is about dramatic lighting that shows off contemporary merchandise.