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New Store Openings: Brick-and-Mortar Gets Creative


Brick-and-mortar retail is not standing still in the face of online challenges.

Canadian sports equipment giant Bauer will be opening eight to 10 stores in North America. Known for its hockey gear, the company saw the opportunity to boost flagging hockey enrollment by offering a new retail concept into the mix. Customers will be able to test the merchandise on an indoor hockey rink. Bauer sees this as a chance to diversify its business and lure more people to the sport, whose numbers began dwindling in the U.S. after the recession.

Bauer’s corporate name changed to Performance Sports Group Ltd. to reflect its expansion into other sports like baseball and lacrosse. The 20,000-square-foot “Own The Moment” stores will open in hockey-centric cities, the first of which will be near Boston and Minneapolis.

After hockey registration dropped by 15,000 between 2008 and 2011, Hockey Canada and Bauer went in a joint marketing effort to draw more kids and novices into the sport. Two years after the program went into effect, recreational hockey registration had climbed back up to 625,000 by 2013.

Bealls Inc., the Florida-based department store retailer, is developing a specialty store concept called Bunulu, which will debut by the end of 2015.  The new store, which will target a younger, more affluent customer and feature coastal-inspired active lifestyle apparel and accessories for both men and women, is opening its first stores this fall. With retail seeing more growth in the last 10 years in both low-end and luxury markets, Bealls has the category covered with its Bealls Outlets at the low end, Bealls Department Stores in the middle, and now Bunulu at the upper end of the spending spectrum.

"Bunulu is an Aboriginal name that means a place of water," said Bealls Department Stores President Lorna Nagler, who is heading up the launch. "Our tagline for our store is ‘Land, Water and Style.’"

The brand’s website describes Bunulu as the “next generation of outdoor active lifestyle brands. Personalized for the coastal lifestyle.”

Bunulu is scheduled to open three to five stores in the fall. Stores will average about 4,000 square feet.

Stitch, a new alteration and design service, opened its flagship store in Hollywood in February.  Stitch aims to be a one-stop-shop for tailoring, with a fast turnaround time and real-time updates on garment progress for clients. It’s the first of many such Stitch stores, which plans to expand across the country.

It also features a lounge decorated with for-sale paintings by local artists, and a rotating pop-up boutique with clothing for sale.

Instead of seamstresses stuck behind curtains in the back of the store, Stitch’s thoroughly modern concept offers a bright, airy space with expertly trained seamstresses centrally located in the store, where customers can interact, while fittings and measurements occur in a private changing suite. Stitch also offers in-home and on-site services 24/7.

Stitch already does on-location styling and altering for celebrity clients. The new shop gives consumers the opportunity to have a modern experience through paperless tickets.

Jins, a pioneer of “smart” eyewear and one of the largest eyewear brands in Japan, is opening its flagship store in the U.S. in San Francisco this fall. JINS MEME is the first eyewear to use eye-tracking and bio-sensing technology to detect tiny changes in eye and body movements to monitor the body for better safety, wellness and health.

Over 1,200 different styles will be available at the 4,900-square-foot store, and because JINS glasses are accessibly priced from $60 to $120, including premium lenses, style-conscious consumers can collect multiple pairs for multiple occasions. At JINS, an on-site lab can create prescription lenses that shoppers can receive in approximately 30 minutes.

TAGS: retail, retail trends, retailers, omni-channel,
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