29 July 2015

See inside new Harvey Nichols store at The Mailbox

Birmingham Mail

These latest images reveal plush new store ahead of official opening on Friday, July 31.

This is how the new Harvey Nichols store will look when it opens at The Mailbox on Friday, July 31.

The luxury make over has been put together in a bid to offer a five-star hotel experience to customers, the store said.

New features include:

*Valet parking

*A concierge to take coats and bags

*Dressing rooms like small apartments where staff will be able to advise shoppers.

*Seating throughout where any partner bored of shopping can be treated to a cold drink and a paper from staff.

*Customers will even be able to pay and have their purchases wrapped and bagged while they are in the changing room.

*360 degree digital mirrors with delayed video inside changing rooms “so you can see how big your bum is instead of relying on someone else to tell you”.

*Modesty cupboards where assistants can put new sizes into for the customer to take out on the other side, without worrying about being seen in their underwear.

*Ambient lighting can show off how clothes will look in the day or the night and there are even phone chargers that will give mobiles a 20 minute boost.

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Shadi Halliwell, group marketing and creative director at Harvey Nichols, says of the new store in the Mailbox: “This is our first footprint of a grand vision of the future.

“We really understood the customer and the luxury shopping experience. We have innovated across the whole of the shop floor without losing the traditional service elements that people love about the luxury market.

“The welcome is worthy of a five-star hotel and there is a reason for that.

“Customers have told us they love going into hotels, getting rid of everything as they walk in and having it all taken care of.

“We have valet parking downstairs and a concierge as you come in so you can drop your bag or briefcase off and your coat and walk around without the burden of the day.“

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”The concept of the store has been put together in collaboration with the retail design specialist, Virgile + Partners.

Carlos Virgile, the director, says that they “aimed to break rules and challenge the predictable imagery and established principles that define luxury shopping environments”.

Shadi added: ”The luxury element can even be felt in the dressing rooms, which combine style and comfort with technology.

“They’re like small apartments, not like some little cubby hole that you find it hard to turn round in.

Shadi says they have taken their cues from other service industries such as hotels, spas and restaurants, where they build relationships with clients so they become loyal customers.

“We pick our (clothes) edit but inevitably that edit will be available elsewhere. The differentiator for us is to be totally and utterly dedicated to the experience we give our customers.”

Even the interior of the new shop will be unlike anything else being offered in the many stores being opened in Birmingham between now and September.

The idea is one of “controlled disruption”, with an unusual layout and an eclectic approach to materials used.

Carlos explains: “We thought it unnecessary to have such rigid walkways and ways of guiding people through the store. We have given them more freedom to explore.

“People can move in any direction and will always find something interesting at the end of that journey.“

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And there is a British wit that is unexpected.

“It has got a sense of humour,” says Shadi.

“Some of the units have gorillas, dogs and little rabbits.

“The rail dividers are apples. It is a bit like Adam and Eve’s apple that you shouldn’t really bite because it is taking you into a world of big credit card bills. It puts a smile on your face.”

Source: Birmingham Mail Online