Watches of Switzerland unveiled plans this morning for a three-story flagship store on London’s Regent Street that Aurum chief executive Justin Stead said will cause "large reverberations in the industry".
Work will start this month on the site at 155 Regent Street with the store expected to open in May 2014. The retail group said that it has invested tens of millions of pounds in the new flagship store.
The shop will span 17,000 sq ft with a multibrand area in the basement dedicated to its entry level brands. The ground floor and first floor will house 13 brand shop-in-shops, creating a department store feel. There will also be a VIP room, repairs centre and even a restaurant available for shoppers on request.
Plans for the store have been five years in the making according to Watches of Switzerland, and once complete it believes it will be "Europe’s largest showroom devoted to luxury watches".
Central to the strategy of the store will be customer experience and events. Stead says that the store will have 52 weeks of events planned so that shoppers visiting the store will be able to see something new each time they visit, and store and concierge staff will facilitate those clients to achieve their shopping goals within a short space of time if required or a full-day visit if the trip is part of a special occasion.
Stead said: "We believe that from day one this will be unique in the industry. Replicas will follow quickly."
Stead added that he envisages this flagship formula being rolled out to locations outwith the UK, although he said the number of these stores would be low – perhaps two or three worldwide. Possible locations floated included the US, Continental Europe and Asia.
For a more in-depth feature on the new Watches of Switzerland store and the company’s vision for the format read the November 2013 issue of WatchPro magazine, out next month.