STORE SPACES

Casper to go big in brick-and-mortar with 200 stores

BY Marianne Wilson

The online brand credited with starting the disruption of mattress retailing is planting its flag in the physical space.

Casper plans to open 200 stores during the next three years, according to CNBC, which cited a report by the Wall Street Journal. The news comes amid reports that the nation’s largest mattress retailer, Mattress Firm, which operates some 3,400 stores, is mulling filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and as other online upstarts have jumped into the market.

Casper, which upended the industry with its mattress-in-a-box product and generous return policy, opened some 15 long-term pop-ups across the United States last year. In February, the brand opened its first permanent location, in downtown Manhattan, followed by a second location, in May, at Toronto’s CF Sherway Gardens mall. Casper plans to open additional locations throughout Canada.

Philip Krim, CEO of Casper, told the Journal that the new stores will help the brand move from being primarily known for its mattresses-in-a-box to a place to buy all types of sleep products, according the Journal report. The company’s product line-up has expanded to include sheets, duvets, pillows and other items.

“Customers aren’t always in the market for a mattress, but everyone cares about how they sleep,” Krim said in the report.

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STORE SPACES

First Look: Lululemon, Santana Row, San Jose, Calif.

BY Marianne Wilson

Lululemon has gone high-tech in the Silicon Valley, with a couple of firsts.

The retailer has expanded — and updated the look and feel of its store at Santana Row, in San Jose, Calif., to provide a personalized shopping experience. The space features digital mirrors for shop assistance and the retailer’s first-ever “story arc” fixture, which uses projection mapping to spotlight product features. (Click here for a video on the store)

In addition to a wide assortment of men’s and women’s athletic, the location is the first lululemon to also feature a rotating collection of online exclusive gear. Shoppers can touch, feel and try on the samples on display and have their purchase shipped to them (at no cost). The selection is refreshed every four to six weeks, allowing shoppers to see the items in person before ordering them online.

Additional store highlights include:

Brand screen: A focal point in the space, the screen serves as a digital for new products and community events.

Digital mirror: With the tap of a price tag, shoppers can quickly locate product inventory in-store (and nearby) or online via RFID technology. The mirror also profiles local stories, upcoming events, lululemeon ambassadors, as well as detailing local run and ride route recommendations curated by the store through Strava.

Story arc fixture: The new story arc fixture designed to showcase lululemon’s most loved and favorite gear. Projection mapping tools wrap animations directly on showcased product, spotlighting specific features and design details such as a hidden pocket, reflective detailing or water repellency.

Enhanced check-out: The checkout has been relocated to the center of the store, which also boasts the retailer’s first-ever fitting room check-out kiosk.

New fixture package: New fixturing allows shoppers easier access to see merchandise.

For more slideshows, click here.

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STORE SPACES

Uniqlo to open first downtown LA location

BY Marianne Wilson

Japanese apparel giant Uniqlo is coming to hip and happening downtown Los Angeles.

The retailer will open a store this fall at The Bloc, an open-air shopping and entertainment destination in the heart of the city’s downtown area. The 12,000 -sq.-ft., two-level location will be the brand’s first store in downtown LA. Uniqlo currently operates nine stores in the Los Angeles region. The new store will offer Uniqlo’s full assortment for men, women and children, along with such in-store services as including complimentary alterations on pants over $19.90, and pick-ups of online orders.

The Bloc is the largest mixed-use site in Los Angeles.

“We welcome Uniqlo to our outstanding roster of tenants, which further positions The Bloc as one of the leading retail and entertainment centers in the city, an important anchor to downtown’s ongoing transformation, and a prominent destination for shoppers, office workers, and visitors,” said Jeff Kanne, president and CEO of National Real Estate Advisors, LLC, the owner of The Bloc.

Uniqlo has more than 2,000 stores in 19 markets worldwide, including 48 U.S. stores.

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