Retail Watch: Are concept stores the future of physical retail?

April 21, 2021
3 min read

Designer Anya Hindmarch has recently unveiled a new physical retail concept called ‘The Village’, set to launch in London next month. The new concept will see the designer open five neighbouring Anya Hindmarch stores in Belgravia, each with its own unique offering. 

‘The Village’

Source: Instagram, @anyahindmarch

The Village, an experience-led space, will at first offer beauty services such as a hair salon, shampoo and therapy experience. For the launch, the brand will have a pop-up salon offering ‘Shampoo and Therapy’ with coffee and Champagne for three weeks starting May 17th.

Anya’s ‘Shampoo and Therapy’ pop-up store ad on Instagram

Source: Instagram, @anyahindmarch

The five stores will also see a dedicated Anya Hindmarch cafe, offering British inspired food and drink. Other stores will include ‘The Plastic Store’, which will focus on sustainability and the reduction of plastic consumption. This store will feature the designer’s collection, I am A Plastic Bag, which is made from cotton using recycled plastic bottles. ‘The Labelled store’ and ‘The Bespoke store’ will respectively host the best-selling labelled collection and personalised pieces.

‘The Village’ moodboard

Source: Anya Hindmarch

Shops need to offer more than a transactional experience

The Anya Hindmarch village shopping concept is a glimpse into what physical shopping could start to look like over the next few years. COVID-19 has undoubtedly had a lasting impact on the retail sector – more people than ever now shop online, data from Mintel’s latest COVID-19 tracker dated 1-12 April 2021 shows nearly half of people say they shop more online since the start of the outbreak. Therefore, those retailers with physical stores need to ensure that they are offering something more than a transactional experience that can simply be replaced online. 

Mintel research also shows that a vast majority of clothes shoppers prefer to shop somewhere that offers a standout shopping experience and this is something that Anya Hindmarch is aiming for by providing not just fashion items, but also a hair salon and a personalisation store. 

With many people stuck at home for so long, there is likely to be pent up demand for shopping trips and many are likely to want to treat themselves. The aforementioned COVID-19 trackers indicate that one in five people were most looking forward to a day out shopping once restrictions were lifted and nearly one in three wanted to visit a hairdresser or beautician. Even those hesitant to shop online pre-pandemic have now probably made the switch to ordering online during the lockdowns, which means physical stores have even more to compete with.

Chana Baram
Chana Baram

Chana Baram is an Analyst at Mintel focusing on the Retail sector. She harnesses her previous experience to analyse and write reports on the UK market.

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