US outdoorwear brand and retailer Columbia is to open its first store in Europe in late September on Kensington High Street.
The two-floor, 3,145 sq ft shop is intended to raise the profile of Columbia’s position as the world’s largest active outdoor apparel brand, according to country manager of UK and Ireland Dan Trapp.
“Within the outdoor market we’re probably known for skiwear in the UK, but we want to raise awareness of what the brand is about,” he said. “We have a broad range of products covering everything from hiking to travel clothing.”
Columbia director of marketing Antti Kärävä said that the decision to open on Kensington High Street was taken because of the proximity of similar retailers in the area, making it a destination for outdoor shoppers. He added that the UK store will adapt the retailer’s “global principles” to make it appropriate for the local market.
It has yet to be decided if Kensington High Street will be the first of several UK stores for Columbia, but plans are in place for a roll-out to key European cities, with Germany next in line for openings later this year.
Work on the UK shop design is being carried out by US consultancy 2 Hemispheres, which created a standalone store for the brand in Seattle last year.
Columbia, which has its headquarters in Portland, Oregon, trades from more than 14,000 outlets globally. It has a flagship in Portland and a network of company-owned stores in the US and Canada.
Columbia is also scheduled to launch a North American transactional website in the summer. Kärävä said the new site has the capacity to be used globally, but that a decision to do so has not yet been taken. Country-specific, non-transactional websites are due to be launched. The UK site is likely to be up and running ahead of the Kensington store opening.
As well as Columbia, the Columbia Sportswear Company manages a portfolio of other outdoor brands including Montrail, Mountain Hardwear, Pacific Trail and Sorel.