Physical SpacesNovember 15, 2019

Retail’s Most Buzzed About Flagships of 2019

From department stores to warehouse clubs, these retail flagships caught our eye

By RAHMA HASSAN | Contributing Writer‍

[RETHINK Retail] — This year saw the opening of several retail flagship stores around the world. From major department stores like Nordstrom to the No. 1 U.S. warehouse club, Costco — which opened in China a couple of months ago — U.S. retailers are making headlines worldwide. August was a busy month for flagship store openings, no less than three of our top five opened doors in August. Here is a list of the top five flagship store openings that garnered the most headlines or set new records.

 

Nordstrom’s Central Park location

Nordstrom’s massive NYC flagship | Photo courtesy of Nordstrom

 

Nordstrom opened its first ever flagship store for women and children in New York City on Oct. 24, in the Central Park Tower. The seven-story tall store features 320,000 square feet of space, three shoe departments including an entire story dedicated to women’s shoes, more than 100 beauty brands spanning two floors, several boutiques and an exclusive Burberry concept shop. The store also offers 24/7 online order pick-up and delivery, same-day delivery to eligible addresses, on-site alterations and tailoring, in-store cobbler services, along with seven food and beverage options.

“The store environment creates a sense of discovery, allowing customers to navigate easily and find new brands they haven’t experienced before,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement.

Nordstrom operates 382 stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.

 

Costco expands its footprint in China

A Costco Wholesale Storefront

 

Costco opened a flagship store in Shanghai on Aug. 27, their first brick-and-mortar store in China. Despite the trade war between the U.S. and China the No. 1 U.S. warehouse club attracted a huge crowd on opening day, to the point that it had to shut its doors early, Forbes reported. Costco had first opened an online store in China in 2014 on Tmall, the business-to-consumer portal of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. That proved to be a very successful venture. Costco set a Guinness World Record in 2015 when it sold over 7,200 tons of its Kirkland Signature mixed nuts during a Alibaba sales event, according to Forbes. The flagship store’s success has led Costco to decide to open another store in Shanghai, Fox Business reported in September. Notably Amazon has not been able to open a physical store in China.

 

Puma arrives in NYC

Puma’s Fifth Ave. location | Photo courtesy of Puma

 

PUMA opened its first-ever North American flagship store on Aug. 29, in New York City’s Fifth Avenue. The store offers a spacious 18,000 square feet in two stories with a 160-foot glass wraparound frontage. PUMA’s flagship store will feature professional-grade F1 racing simulators for customers to virtually race down the streets of New York City. Soccer fans will also be treated to an in-store simulator that mimics the pitch of San Siro Stadium, while being virtually coached by PUMA brand ambassadors and professional footballers, according to a company statement. PUMA also launched a Chinatown Market University inside the store, where customers can customize PUMA apparel, footwear and accessories using Chinatown Market’s state-of-the-art printing technology, according to the statement.

 

Whole Foods’ D.C. area flagship

New Tysons Corner location | Photo courtesy of Whole Foods

 

Whole foods has been on a roll this year, opening two flagship stores one of them being its 500th. The newest flagship store was opened in Tysons Corner, Virginia, on Oct. 30. With a food hall, pub and game room, the 70,000 square-foot store is the largest Whole foods on the East Coast. The store will not only offer health food options but also be a place for people to gather and enjoy a meal or play in the game room.

“We look forward to providing the community — including residents and those coming through the transportation hub of Tysons Corner — with access to an expansive selection of fresh and innovative offerings, high quality food and drink options from many local partners, as well as a space to gather with friends and enjoy a meal or a drink at High Point, our in-store pub and game room,” Carl DePree, Whole Foods store team leader, said in a company statement.

The store will employ 325 full and part-time employees. Whole Foods is offering thousands of products from local suppliers and is giving back some of their proceeds to charitable organizations in the community.

 

The North Face’s Manhattan play-space

The great outdoors | Photo courtesy of The North Face

 

The North Face’s SoHo Manhattan flagship store, opened Aug. 9, is the embodiment of the new design that promises to transform their stores into “basecamps for exploration.”

At the new 8000 square-foot store, customers will be treated to the scent of Yosemite’s Half Dome, and a historical archive of North Face’s icon products and athlete expeditions, all in a sustainably designed interior built to last longer without needing renovations, according to the statement. The store will also feature a team of “guides” to help customers choose gear tailored to their local adventures.

The North Face’s SoHo store will kick off planned renovations across most of their stores starting this fall, to be completed by the end of 2024. The North Face’s vice president said in a statement, that the new transformations are part of the company’s shift to focusing more on creating an environment for customers to experience the brand and its heritage.