Next is pressing down the path of adding new experiences and brands to its stores with its latest tie-up. Having recently added a digital car showroom and bridal concession in its Manchester store and Costa Coffees in other major branches, the fashion and home giant has now partnered with Dutch lifestyle brand Hema, which has launched a shop in shop in its flagship Oxford Street store.
The Hema store within the Next branch is the Dutch retailer’s ninth in the UK and it said it marked a “significant step in its continued expansion in the UK”. Should the move prove successful it may consider opening more shop in shops.
Partnering with Next could offer plenty of expansion opportunity since the UK retailer has 500 stores in the UK and a further 200 internationally, but HEMA is also looking at other potential partners and will be pushing its Dutch design credentials.
“HEMA is steadily developing into a truly internationally active retailer and lifestyle brand. We are seeing growing demand for our concept thanks to the distinctive nature of our brand in these markets. Our products have a clear ‘Dutch design’ element, they are competitively priced and good quality. This makes us attractive in an increasing number of markets,” said HEMA International director Richard Flint.
“We are therefore increasingly looking at cooperation with partners and we are testing innovative concepts like the cooperation with Next, but also with Apparel Group for the Middle East. Our Dutch roots are a bonus in this respect, as Dutch design is also highly rated in countries outside the Netherlands. We will therefore emphasise this more and more in our marketing, for instance by using ‘from Amsterdam’ in our logos and stores,” Flint added.
HEMA stocks a range of stationery, gifts, fashion accessories, lingerie, beauty products, homewares and foods, typically in bright colours and at attractive prices. Its stores are merchandised by category or “world” so that the consumer immediately knows where to look for products for children, women or babies, for example. It was founded in Holland in 1926 and now has more than 750 stores globally.
Its arrival in Next follows a number of initiatives by the British retailer to make its larger stores more attractive and experiential destinations. At the beginning of the year Next revealed that pioneering car showroom Rockar would be installing its digital car experiences in Next stores, starting with Manchester.
In June it confirmed that it was opening its first wedding concession in its Manchester Arndale store in partnership with WED2B, while its larger stores (including its recent major store opening at intu Merry Hill) have housed Costa Coffee outlets for some time along with Lipsy concessions (a young fashion brand owned by Next).
It’s a strategy that in many ways mirrors that of department store Debenhams, which is placing experience and services at the heart of its turnaround programme, Debenhams Redesigned. The department store has struck up a number of partnerships, including beauty bars with BLOW Ltd, in-store gyms with Sweat! and Click & Collect with Doddle.