Furniture News #393

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RETAIL UPGRADED Whether it takes the form of a light refurbishment or a completely new store, delivering fresh shopping formats is essential to keeping any bricks-and-mortar retail offer engaging and successful …

There comes a time in every retail business when its existing look just doesn’t cut it. Tastes change, and products evolve – so the store environment too needs refreshing from time to time. Yet, unlike a change of clothes or a new hairdo, the cost implications behind such reinventions means they are rarely superficial – by making operational improvements, better utilising existing space, and identifying what shoppers really want, cosmetic uplifts such as new window displays and brand galleries are given even greater opportunity to reach their potential. This month, Furniture News presents insights from two independent retailers at different stages of their transformative processes, to discover what prompted the redevelopment, how each was executed, and, crucially, the opportunities they have created …

FROM CLARKES TO LENLEYS Having completed an upgrade of its flagship Canterbury showroom, Lenleys is currently refurbishing its Clarkes store in Maidstone, which is set to reopen this summer as Lenleys Home (Maidstone). Business partner Lavinia Watts, who represents the third generation of Lenleys management, offers her take on the redevelopment …

At what stage is your store upgrade programme? Our refurbishment programme started in our flagship store in Canterbury late in 2021, and a total refurbishment and rebrand is taking place at our Clarkes store in Maidstone at the moment. Our Clarkes store closed at the end of March and is expected to reopen this summer as Lenleys Home (Maidstone). The new store will feature the high-end brands and signature service that the Lenleys brand is known for. The expected cost to complete the transformation is expected to be in excess of half a million. We’ve kept the budget flexible to a degree, to ensure that we deliver a retail environment that is both unique and representative of the Lenleys brand.

Lavinia Watts

What drove you to start your overhaul journey? Keeping the store at the cutting edge of home furnishing has always been important to us. However, after nearly two years of living online, we know that people are increasingly investing time and money in the products that make

their house a home. For many homeowners, purchases of furniture and home furnishings are a tactile experience. They want to see and feel the quality that they’re selecting, and we’re seeing a significant increase in the number of people returning to stores to purchase these items. We therefore felt now was the time to invest in our stores. By providing an enhanced shopping experience, our usual supportive service and our new in-store studios, we’re aiming to inspire our visitors so they can furnish their home or find that key design piece that will give their home the edge. What input did you seek from external parties? Conversely, how much inhouse talent did you bring to bear? For the external building work, project management and design we’ve re-employed the services of C-Side Architectural Design, who already understand our requirements after working with us on our Canterbury showroom. Specialist company Roofing


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