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Music to our ears!

Last summer a colleague of mine wrote about the return of the HMV brand to our local #watford high street and we’ve have taken a close interest in the music and movie retailer ever since. So we were delighted to read recently that the brand are to bring a little buzz back to the west end with the re-opening of the flagship Oxford Street store. The original store opened in 1921, shutting in 2019 as the company entered administration. But a return to profit in 2022, aided by a boom in vinyl sales (highest UK sales since 1990) sees the brand planning to roll out the new HMV shop concept across 24 locations this year. With new stores planned in Europe too it’s certainly an exciting time for HMV fans.
As it turns out HMV aren’t the only brand throwing open the doors to new stores. As reported in Retail Gazette a number of brands are supplementing their online presence by investing heavily in their physical footprint in 2023.
Premium retailer FLANNELS, another of our Watford favourites, are demonstrating their commitment to UK high streets with the opening of new stores in Leeds and Cardiff, with the aim of bringing new levels of luxury and world class experience to their customers.

MANGO also sees the UK as a key strategic market and plans further expansion following the opening of their Newcastle store in November. Marks and Spencer announced in January it would invest £480m in bigger and better stores across the UK to offer a seamless customer experience, with 20 new sites opening in the next financial year creating over 3,400 jobs. These are just a few of the positive stories for the UK’s high streets.

Also opening a flagship store in Oxford Street this year as well as a 6,000 sq ft store in Atria Watford, is FOOTASYLUM. Once owned by JD Sport, it has more than 65 stores across the UK and is currently owned by private equity firm AURELIUS GROUP who own another staple of the high street, LloydsPharmacy. They clearly know a good thing when they see it!

Yet another physical retailer doing great things right now is Dunelm. The homewares retailer posted a 6% increase in sales for the 13 weeks to April 1. With 179 stores across the UK, last week it confirmed it is set to open a 33,000 square foot store in atria Watford. Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said Dunelm’s move into Watford is “fantastic news for the local economy”.

The bricks and mortar resurgence isn’t just in traditional High Street retail either. Another winner right now is Pets at Home. Through a nationwide network of local stores they can perfectly deliver their full-petcare offering, with physical and online sales, subscriptions, grooming and veterinary services, as well as a wide range and keen pricing they are growing market share.

One word in common for all these brands is ‘experience’. It’s no longer about having a shop. It’s about offering an environment in which customers can experience the brand and products by offering a physical experience which complements their online offering.
At We Are Acuity we’ve huge experience of helping global and national brands support their online presence by activating in local towns and cities. If you are an ambitious bricks & mortar brand looking at expansion, and need some marketing support on how to maintain your brand, activate it at local level and engage your outlets in your campaigns, get in touch with We Are Acuity today for a FREE marketing audit by clicking HERE.

Or if you'd like to read more about Local Marketing have a look at our blog page "Local Thinking': https://www.weareacuity.com/local-thinking-our-blog

#retail #marketing #experience

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