I recently visited Nammos Village on the island of Mykonos. A luxury ‘retail cluster’ combined with pop-ups, restaurant and beach, all against a backdrop of super yachts silhouetted in the bay, sundowner drinks being mixed and thumping dance music. Ok, it’s beyond reality for many, but it does represent a powerful underlying retail proposition, or check-list (even for temperate isles). And these, with a bit of lateral thinking, could be applied to many department stores, malls, gallerias and retail villages that might be scratching their heads at the moment. These being: targeted and in-tune with your audience; a clear narrative; concise offer; constant newness; human scale; mixed use; lifestyle; meandering landscape; service; open spaces; and darn good design. (As one example, Edinburgh StJames when it opens next year will be a good galleria variant that ticks many of these boxes.)
And 7,000 job losses. I’m sure the Covid pandemic has had a huge impact on their business and therefore influenced their decision-making (as it has on everyone- we are all connected in some way globally). But for some time the offer has been out-of-step and the stores fairly lacklustre (other than all things food & wine). So not in a good place to enter and then successfully ride a pandemic. Sadly, for what was from very humble beginnings a revolutionary brand, partnered by Michael Marks and Tom Spencer formed in 1894, and grew to become a much loved and international brand. (A friend of mine in Singapore recently said to me, and with great enthusiasm, ‘Have you tasted the M&S tandoori king prawns?’ But I digress back to their food).
I’m reading a good book at the moment, entitled ‘Mythos’ by Stephen Fry. There’s a line that strikes a cord, “…they needed an inner creative fire too, a divine fire, to enable them to think, imagine, dare and do”.
Many brands at the moment need to apply some thinking, imagining, daring and doing… to not just ride the storm, but to also veraciously and unerringly propel forward.