The weekend before last myself and my partner visited the brand new Dunelm Store in atria Watford and being only 2 weeks before Christmas I must say we were dreading the pre-Christmas shopping experience!
Not only did we have to contend with the rush of pre Christmas shoppers but there was also a home game at Watford Football Club taking place that day which as you’d expect can cause the town to be very busy anyway. (As season ticket holders my adult sons were at the game and although a win would have been great they were content with a 1-1 draw against Southampton Football Club!)
We weren’t the only people to be excited about the new store and as it had only opened on 5th December there were plenty of people there ‘checking it out’!
We were shopping for something quite specific and as the store was so busy, we didn’t hang around to immerse ourselves fully in the experience, but we were suitably impressed with what we saw.
This is the first Dunelm shopping centre store, most other stores seem to be large out of town stores set in retail parks, so it was interesting to see the town centre version. The store’s new home is a large section of what was John Lewis & Partners.
As such, it’s a very large store, set on one floor and it felt bright and welcoming. Being large, there was plenty of space for all the bedding and sofa displays. One thing that did catch our eye was signage around the sofa area advertising ‘100’s of sofas in under 5 days’ which sounds like a great USP considering the vast majority of sofas ordered from other retailers can take weeks to be made and delivered.
The displays seemed very tidy, shelves were well stocked, and the products neatly displayed. We were impressed with the great selection of products, the usual things you would expect to find in a home furnishings store along with some little extras like a good selection of birthday cards, purposefully positioned near the queue for the tills – their strategic positioning worked and we picked a couple up whilst in the long check out queue!
Although the queue seemed long initially, we were pleasantly surprised on how quick the queue moved and we were soon at the checkout. The young man serving us was very cheerful and helpful and we were very impressed with the whole experience. He took the time to explain about the extended returns policy for the Christmas period and offered a gift receipt for the purchase and the option to have a physical or emailed receipt.
There were also signs showing a ‘Click and collect’ option so great to be merging the physical and online experiences.
It's the perfect placement for Watford Atria and recreates the ‘book-end’ store that used to be John Lewis and it can certainly fill the void of the ‘destination store’ which has been missing since John Lewis pulled out.
So all in all a big thumbs up from us at We Are Acuity!
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