Looking for a hit list of the hottest new stores outside of the United States? Check out of some of the contenders below. The information comes from the London-based retail consultancy echochamber.com.
Boxpark, London: The world’s first pop-up shopping mall — that’s right, a pop-up mall! — is made from some 60 shipping containers that were joined together over two levels and then stripped and refitted with an industrial finish. It is home to more than 60 fashion, art and lifestyle brands, along with cafes and art galleries. Although some big names are featured (including Nike and Levi’s), the emphasis is on innovative, cutting-edge brands.
Boxpark, which is located in London’s trendy Shoreditch area, opened on December 3, 2012, and is scheduled to remain open for five years. This is one of the coolest retail concepts I’ve seen in some time … and offers a great — and relatively inexpensive — way for burgeoning retail brands to get some footing.
Bloomingdale’s, Dubai: Bloomingdale’s first international store is, in the opinion of some folks (including those at Echo Chamber) also its best store yet. Located in the very upscale Dubai Mall, the interior entrance is spectacular, featuring a huge, triple-height portal that is accessed via a bridge done in the retailer’s signature black-and-white checkerboard tiles.
Louis Vuitton Island Maison, Marina City Park, Singapore: The ultimate luxury fashion destination, this stunning glass and steel pavilion sits on the waterfront of the Marina Bay promenade. Visitors enter by private boat via its own jetty, by bridge, or by an underground tunnel that runs from the mall at the Marina Bay Sands complex. The 41,000-sq.-ft. store features the brand’s complete offering, from men's to women's collections, to jewelry. The interior is designed to resemble a luxurious ocean liner or yacht, complete with teak floors and portholes.
Zara, Rome: One of the largest Zara stores in the world, the Rome flagship is located on Via del Corso in a 120-year-old palazzo that was previously home to the department store La Rinascente. The five-level store is not only beautiful, it’s also extremely eco-friendly, and will seek LEED certification.
Paul Smith, Seoul: Seoul is a hotbed of retail innovation, according to echochamer, as Paul Smith’s new, three-level flagship so aptly illustrates. It boasts a strikingly contemporary façade, with a tilted, perforated roof and organic lines.
K Mart, Melbourne, Australia: Sleek and futuristic, the new K Mart prototype illustrates a trend that echochamber calls “push for posh,” whereby big-box and discount retailers are investing in sophisticated design. The lighting is particularly cool.
C&A, San Paulo, Brazil: This is the mid-market retailer’s most glamorous store to date, with a grand circular staircase and a three-floor fashion wall lit with LEDs. Another example of the “push for posh” move.
For more hot stores, go to echochamber.com/n2k_menu.htm.