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STORE SPACES

Beauty retailer goes experiential in new store model

BY Marianne Wilson

French beauty brand L’Occitane en Provence wants to transport customers to the land of its birth.

The company has completely redesigned its flagship at Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Toronto, to a new model that offers an immersive digital experience and a multi-sensory journey inspired by the land and culture of Provence. Designed by brand creative and experience agency School House, the store boasts a 22-foot- high glass façade that is home to a striking curved video wall, six feet high and eighteen feet wide, which helps draw shoppers into the space.

“Upon entering, guests will feel a sense of wonderment – they will be transported to the lavender fields of Provence, learn about L’Occitane’s expertise in the art of extraction, and visit the land of Corsica, home of the powerful Immortelle flower,” said Paul Blackburn, North American VP of concept design, construction & merchandising, L’Occitane, which operates some 240 stores in North America.

The yellow glass archways at the entry were inspired by Provençal architecture. Key store features include an interactive skincare bistro, a testing experience for fragrances, and large hand-cream column wrapped in communal seating. Provence is brought to life through various design features that channel the elements of earth, fire, air and water.

Earth is cultivated with a flooring of natural stone and a botanical ceiling installation. Water is cultivated with automated rain shower sinks, encouraging test-and-play with products beneath showers from hanging illuminated arched domes. Fire is channeled through a radiating sun installation set within the ceiling plane above and is cultivated into fragrance clouds, creating a unique testing experience for fragrances.

The store complies with L’Occitane’s eco-friendly sensibility. The lighting is 100% LED, and, for the first time in North America, an in-store bottling recycling program in partnership with Terracycle is offered. The stone flooring and countertops are made of recycled natural stone aggregates and contain pre-consumer recycled content. The yellow arches are made from specially-formulated co-polyester resin, incorporating 40% pre-consumer recycled content, compatible with one of the largest post-consumer recycle streams.

The Yorkdale redesign is part L’Occitane’ new “global” retail strategy, which driven by tailoring the customer experience with innovative and personalized services across the globe, while adapting the concepts according to local market specifications.

The retailer has two other stores scheduled to open in December, including a 6,450-sq.-ft. site — its largest location to date — on London’s Regent Street.

It also will unveil a new concept, on the Champs Elysee in Paris. Called 86 Champs, it was created and L’Occitane and French pastry chef, and will Pierre Hermé, the famous French pastry chef, and is described as “a haven for indulgent beauty products and delicious sweet treats.”

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STORE SPACES

Luxury fashion distributor opens first store; taps retail vet to oversee growth

BY CSA STAFF

MadaLuxe Group has thrown its hat in the off-price retail arena, both offline and online.

The company announced it has opened MadaLuxe Vault at Citadel Outlets, in Los Angeles. The 3,000-sq.-ft. store has a boutique-like environment and features an assortment of categories, including designer handbags, eyewear, accessories and timepieces, from top European luxury brands. The brand has also launched an e-commerce site.

Darin Skinner, who has extensive retail and luxury expertise and spent more than 20 years at Guess, has been named senior VP of stores. He is charged with overseeing the expansion of MadaLuxe Vault.

“Los Angeles is an ideal location for us to launch our first store, and we are thrilled to bring on extensive retail talent as we look to build on this exciting new consumer shopping experience in the luxury off-price market in a variety of strategic real estate locations,” said Adam Freede, co-founder and president of MadaLuxe Group.

Since 2010, MadaLuxe Group has been a partner for some of Europe’s leading luxury brands seeking a North American distribution strategy for excess inventory; growing its retail sales to more than $200 million.

MadaLuxe Vault said it will donate a portion of its retail and e-commerce sales to World of Children to fund high-impact programs dedicated to changing the lives of vulnerable children around the world.

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STORE SPACES

Survey: Food quality, cleanliness key to supermarket experience

BY Marianne Wilson

An annual survey reveals the major factors that enter into the supermarket experience.

Supermarket shoppers rated quality/freshness of the product (4.45 on a 5-point scale) and cleanliness of the store (4.40) as the two strongest core experience factors, according to Retail Feedback Group’s 2017 U.S. Supermarket Experience Study. Associate friendliness – the highest-rated service factor – received a more moderate rating of 4.34, followed by associate helpfulness/knowledge (4.24), checkout speed/efficiency (4.23) and associate availability (4.19).

Value for the money spent received the lowest score among all core experience factors, at 4.18. Shoppers at discount grocer Aldi give value for money the highest marks (4.68), and also score Aldi higher than supermarkets on checkout speed (4.30). Walmart shoppers give lower scores on the all the core experience factors.

The survey findings point to a critical need for grocery retailers with a physical presence to step up their game, according to RFG principal Doug Madenberg.

“When people shop in a supermarket, the overall experience, assortment, and value proposition need to be excellent in order to earn their next visit,” he said. “There are too many grocery options available online, in hard discount stores, and across other formats, for an average or sub-par supermarket visit to be acceptable.”

In other survey findings:

• Supermarket shoppers gave an overall satisfaction rating of 4.42 before 3 p.m., but this mark fell to 4.36 between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Several factor ratings were substantially lower after 3 p.m. than earlier in the day, including cleanliness, quality/freshness, staff friendliness, and value for the money.

• Seventy-six percent of shoppers refer to one or more advertising/sales vehicles — traditional, social, mobile and digital — before or during the visit.

• Millennials scored supermarkets the lowest on all core experience factors, as well as overall trip satisfaction. Boomers, on the other hand, rated overall trip experience and nearly all core experience factors highest (and only one area — staff knowledge/helpfulness — was rated equal by both Boomers and Gen X).

“The fact that overall trip satisfaction and all of the core experience factors register lowest among millennials should be a call to action for supermarkets,” said Madenberg. “Traditional supermarkets must find ways to make the supermarket more appealing and relevant to younger shoppers or risk becoming endangered as boomers age and purchase less.”

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