Phones 4U midway along Oxford Street has been around for a long time and probably isn’t the first place that might spring to mind when considering visual merchandising novelty.


Yet over the Christmas period it installed a very simple window scheme that had passing shoppers stopping to look.

In essence, what the retailer has done is create a piece of trompe l’oeil that makes you think the store window is curving inwards and that a coloured moment in time has been created following the window having been smashed. It is, of course, nothing of the kind, and the concavity, while it exists, is behind the normal window line. It does, however, make you want to look into the false hollow, at the end of which there is, naturally, some kind of new mobile phone being promoted.

This is a relatively small shop and while what has been done might seem sufficient, the curved window that forms the corner of the shop has also been put to good use advertising the merits of a new BlackBerry. Here, a circular cut-out has been fashioned from a white background covered with pink snowflakes. Again, this is a very straightforward display, but it was also having the effect of turning heads.

All of which serves to show that any retailer is capable of creating window schemes that surprise and make you take a second glance. Phones 4U is about deals, but this does not mean its windows have to be serried ranks of small pieces of technology. In this instance it has managed to achieve that most difficult of visual merchandising tasks – taking something small and making it worth looking at in the context of a much larger space. A pity that as Twelfth Night came and went, it seemed to have forgotten to remove its Christmas bunting, but you can’t have everything.