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Concessions and brands in stores


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Concessions and brands in stores are gradually making a bigger and bigger impact on the UK high street as well as in retail outlets and supermarkets, and this week Debenhams announced like-for-like sales were up in the weeks leading to June after issuing a profit-warning earlier this year. The announcement comes as trials of both Costa and Sports Direct concessions are set to launch in selected Debenhams stores this August.

Some concessions have resulted in massive successes – Costa in Waterstones is a great example, as is the acquisition of family eatery Giraffe for Tesco stores. While these logical partnerships work well, others like the ‘copycat’ WHSmith Costa concessions may be ill-advised. Concessions and brands can add major value to an organisation if done well, but retailers should not assume success in other stores will mean the same for them.

Launching a Costa in WHSmith will not produce the same results as launching Costa in Waterstones as the culture and atmosphere in each store are polar opposites. Customers used to rushing in for a newspaper and a Double Decker are unlikely to want, or have the time, to sit in for coffee and cake.

Some retailers have perfected their relationships with concessions, with Selfridges being one such retailer. The brand and product mix the store provides through own brand and concessions is what gives them their high-end image. On the other hand, John Lewis, another similarly priced department store, remain totally focused on their original goods, and while they sell branded products they do not allow concessions to place stands or own floor space in their stores.

We can suggest that concessions are ultimately not going to make or break a store. Each retailer is different – John Lewis is an example of a high-focus on original products and self-promotion, while stores such as Waterstones show how to fit a concession to the product offering. Tailoring partnerships to the environment, the customer and the business goals will result in true merging of brands and lead concessions to naturally complement a store rather than lead customers to question why.

Get in touch with us to find out more.

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