It seems that luxury retailer Burberry is to open a series of ‘statement stores’ to celebrate its British heritage. Burberry has snapped up a raft of high-profile locations in Regent Street and Knightsbridge to create “world of Burberry” flagships showcasing its entire range.
The initiative is thought to be part of a brand-building exercise led by chief executive Angela Ahrendts. One source said Ahrendts wants to celebrate Burberry’s British heritage with a “flag in the ground” retail statement in its home market such as luxury retailers Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger have in Madison Avenue in New York or Louis Vuitton on the Champs Elysées in Paris.
Burberry has acquired the lease for the LK Bennett shop on Regent Street. The 3,500 sq ft store is next to a 20,000 sq ft shop previously occupied by Habitat, which Burberry acquired the lease of in January. It is expected to knock the two stores together to create a statement store.
The luxury giant also acquired the lease for the Jaeger store on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, which is next to Burberry’s existing shop. Jaeger has already moved out of the store and work is under way.
The source said Burberry may be seeking a third statement store site in the King’s Road/ Sloane Square area of London, although it was unclear if this idea was being pursued as Retail Week went to press.
The shops are expected to be global showcases for Burberry, spotlighting its entire product ranges including Burberry Brit, its lifestyle range, and its bespoke offering.
Ahrendts has already made a significant statement about the importance of the heritage of the retailer, which was founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry, a 21-year old draper’s apprentice, when she pulled out of the high-profile Milan Fashion Week schedule in 2009 and took the Burberry Prorsum collection back to London Fashion Week. Her decision to return to London was said to be largely because she felt a British brand should show, support and celebrate its heritage on home soil.
Bernstein analyst Luca Solca said Burberry has strong appeal to customers from the emerging markets, such as China, and those shoppers expect huge stores showcasing everything. He said: “These shoppers expect the flagship in the home market to be the best in the world, as it is for Louis Vuitton on the Champs Elysées. These shoppers are also the ones most likely to shop across categories so it makes sense to have everything under one roof.”
I like the idea that they are shifting their focus back on London. It shows that they understand the value of authenticity in the brand. No doubt it will also become a focus of some interesting and innovative retail marketing in weeks to come too.
- Sam (thanks to Richard and Nick)