August 19, 2020 /Industry

Store openings in Europe offer a hopeful future for the retail industry

Against a backdrop of travel restrictions, store openings in Europe have shunned a positive light on the retail industry, exuding creativity, innovation and hope in otherwise turbulent and uncertain times. Notably, pop-up strategies have been popular. To echo our Global Director Freddie Sheridan’s comments in our previous blog about the future of retail seeing more pop-up stores emerge, their strength lies in the fact they can be a great platform for brands to consider for a short period of time. 

As we begin on a path of economic recovery, it has been promising to see store openings across Europe this summer. In light of this, we break down key insights for the retail industry moving forward. Key notable insights include how the luxury consumer has uprooted for long term travel, the need to commit to delivering sustainability strategies and the importance of moving brand communication from global to hyper-local.

Responses to the luxury consumer uprooting in favour for long term tourism destinations

Dior Ibiza has recreated their holiday style pop-up in Ibiza for a second year running. Yet this year, it pays homage to the latest Dioriviera collection. A collection that was inspired by the relaxed lifestyle of the Riviera, the luxury French fashion house has applied this joie de vivre into a luxurious laissez-faire design attitude that has come to life through escapist interiors.  Despite the travel restrictions, Dior has embraced a tourism-focused strategy this summer with additional pop-ups located in Mykonos Greece, Capri Italy and Forte dei Marmi, Tuscany. 

Like Dior, French footwear brand Ash has shown commitment to a tourism-driven strategy and opened a store in Palma, Mallorca. A visually striking space, the minimal and luxurious store is segmented by two white curving shapes and the shoes have been merchandised against a soft backdrop of sheer pink curtains.

52% of luxury travellers are opting for private villa getaways

It’s an interesting move by both brands, illustrating a key insight our strategy team has been exploring in terms of reaching the luxury consumer. 52% of luxury travellers are opting for private villa getaways, and luxury hotels like Badrutt’s Palace in St Mortiz Switzerland have adapted their services for long-term refuge. Due to fear of quarantine measures, HNWIs and UHNWIs consumer cohorts are taking fewer but extended trips abroad. Thus, where these wealthy consumers could have been formerly found working with face-to-face client meetings in global cities such as New York, London or Paris, they have now uprooted to luxurious destinations abroad. It is now for brands to consider how their retail experiences and new store openings can target these travel-hungry consumers and curate their offerings to meet their long-term tourism-driven uprooting.

Moving forward with hyper local connection and sustainable strategies

Following launches in Shanghai and New York, Nike launched its House of Innovation concept in the French capital, Paris. Mirroring the strategy of the two previous stores, the concept is technological driven. Yet, Nike has strategically made a point of difference by not replicating all previous House of Innovation features of the previous stores. Instead, the athletic-inspired brand has opted to favour a community-first strategy that prioritises communication with locals and smaller-scale engagement that fosters greater intimacy. 

In our continued research into consumer behaviour and brand engagement, community management within the retail industry must move from global to hyper-local. With different countries and regional bodies managing the crisis in different ways, brands must be responsive to the differences in the market. Most importantly, they should be responsive to the differing emotional and communal needs of where their stores are located. COVID19 has highlighted the importance and power of our local communities and networks and store openings in the future must acknowledge this.

What’s more, if we look to the recent Nike opening in Paris, the store has placed sustainability at the forefront of the strategy. Nike has ensured reuse principles in its store design by creating display features from 85,000kg of ‘would-be waste material’. Alongside this, the brand is powering its stores with clean energy from wind-power company Iberdrola. 

At Sheridan&Co, we have been exploring the future of the retail industry and how brands can design experiences in a post-COVID19 environment. Reviewing store openings across Europe has offered a glimpse of hope and optimism for how the industry can move forward in our new normal. Whilst safety and hygiene is a priority for brands, this should not be at the expense of sustainable design. We must combine our short term strategy for recovery with long term vision to protect the health of the environment and the planet. 

We are entering a new era for retail design and the future is hopeful for brands that prioritise locality and sustainability. Alongside this, brands should look to embrace the boom of luxury consumers uprooting from megacities in favour of long term tourism destinations.

If you would like to talk to Sheridan&Co as to how you can design your post-COVID19 retail experience, contact