Zara has radically upsized its presence at Landsec’s giant Bluewater mall in Kent with the 37,000 sq ft space also representing the UK debut for its global flagship concept.
Only seen so far in Barcelona and Dubai, the concept houses the full range for women, men, and kids across two floors, with Zara Home on a mezzanine floor. Zara's fashion and Zara Home were previously separate at Bluewater.
There’s also a dedicated personal shopping area, which is an unusual development outside of the premium and luxury price segments.
The store was designed by Zara as part of its drive to integrate offline and online and make the move between the two seamless for customers. That means there’s an Automated Collection Point (ACP) where customers can collect their e-shopping orders using QR codes or PINs. There are also self-service and refund tills.
As well as being a big move for Zara and its parent company Inditex, it’s a vote of confidence not only in UK physical retail but in shopping malls. The destination malls that were once star players in UK retail have struggled for some time, and especially since the first lockdown ended in June.
But with the UK’s vaccine rollout due to start next week, there’s clearly an expectation that life can start to normalize within a few months. And with the turmoil in UK retail at present, those stable companies that are able to invest in creating retail space that’s as experiential as possible are likely to come out on top as the recovery sets in.