Good Stores Guide - 2016

12 Months, 15 Cities, 24 Stores. 1 Essential Guide. From local retailers to major brands, we shine the spotlight on global retail best practice.

12 Months, 15 Cities, 24 Stores. 1 Essential Guide. From local retailers to major brands, we shine the spotlight on global retail best practice.


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<strong>2016</strong><br />

<strong>Good</strong> <strong>Stores</strong> <strong>Guide</strong><br />

Global retail best practice explored<br />

Inside:<br />

12 Months,<br />

15 Cities, 24 <strong>Stores</strong>.<br />

1 Essential <strong>Guide</strong><br />


Visual Thinking is dedicated to<br />

inspiring retail performance. It<br />

was an early pioneer of brand<br />

delivery and has spent more<br />

than 20 years defining and<br />

transforming retailers’ most<br />

important and enduring assets—<br />

their instore experiences, and the<br />

retail teams who deliver them.<br />

Cover Design:<br />

Tom Doores, DSGNLAB, GB

<strong>2016</strong><br />

<strong>Good</strong> <strong>Stores</strong> <strong>Guide</strong><br />

Visual Thinking<br />

#goodstoresguide<br />

Credits<br />

Design<br />

Dom Rugman<br />

Paul Harris<br />

Illustration<br />

Tom Doores<br />

Editorial<br />

Adam Womersley<br />

Marc Baker<br />

Contributors<br />

Karl McKeever<br />

Louise McJannet<br />

Suzanne Tanner<br />

Raw Materials, Amsterdam<br />

Grupo Trinitate, Mexico<br />

Designed by<br />


9 Davy Court<br />

Rugby<br />

Warwickshire<br />

CV23 0UZ<br />

www.dsgnlab.com<br />

Be inspired, respect copyrights!<br />

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced<br />

or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or<br />

mechanical, including photocopy or any storage and retrieval<br />

system, without permission in writing from Visual Thinking.<br />

www.visualthinking.co.uk<br />

Made in the UK<br />

Published by Visual Thinking<br />

© Visual Thinking <strong>2016</strong>

Contents<br />

Intro 05<br />

Featured <strong>Stores</strong> of <strong>2016</strong> 06<br />

Amsterdam<br />

Raw Materials 06<br />

Chicago<br />

Restoration Hardware 09<br />

Dubai<br />

GO Sport 12<br />

Hong Kong<br />

Facesss 14<br />

Leeds<br />

John Lewis 16<br />

Mexico City<br />

Trinitate 19<br />

New York City<br />

Barney’s 21<br />

New York City<br />

L’Occitane 24<br />

4<br />

Reykjavik<br />

Geysir 26<br />

Stockholm<br />

Daniel Wellington 29<br />

Tokyo<br />

Hunter 31<br />

Washington D.C<br />

The Frye Company 33<br />

Other Top Shops 35<br />

Amsterdam, Denham 35<br />

Chicago, Eataly 35<br />

Cologne, Funktion Schnitt 35<br />

Hong Kong, City Super 35<br />

London, Dyson 35<br />

Mexico City, Soriana 35<br />

New York City, Room & Board 36<br />

Paris, Herschel 36<br />

Reykjavik, 66° North 36<br />

San Francisco, Heath Ceramics 36<br />

Stockholm, Bookbinders Design 36<br />

Washington D.C, Shinola 36

Intro<br />

Why do we love inspiring stores? Perhaps it’s that<br />

incomparable new concept, or a store team’s irrepressible<br />

passion for the brand and the products they sell. Or the fact<br />

that discovering a new store or reacquainting yourself with a<br />

forgotten ‘friend’ will often challenge you to re-evaluate your<br />

thinking, even amongst those who believe they’ve seen it all.<br />

Inside our <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Good</strong> <strong>Stores</strong> <strong>Guide</strong>, we<br />

offer you a “local” experience, profiling<br />

retailers and stores that our global<br />

network of retail experts have been lucky<br />

enough to see as they dart from city to<br />

city, transforming instore performance.<br />

In many ways they are a disparate<br />

collection of stores, unified not by<br />

geography or sector, but by their<br />

determination to deliver eye-catching<br />

retail design, attentive customer<br />

service, and outstanding VM.<br />

5<br />

Choosing a mere 12 of our favourites<br />

in <strong>2016</strong> proved just too difficult, so<br />

for our <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Good</strong> <strong>Stores</strong> <strong>Guide</strong> we<br />

have also included a directory of other<br />

notable top shops that are worth<br />

taking a few minutes to check out.<br />

Amsterdam to Reykjavik, San Francisco<br />

to Tokyo, Washington to Mexico City,<br />

you’ll find some fascinating retail locations<br />

and stores. From local brands in lesserexplored<br />

neighbourhoods, to truly<br />

global retailers who are transcending<br />

geographic and cultural boundaries.<br />

As it should be, it is simply our latest<br />

instalment, in what will always be a<br />

continuous pursuit of retail performance<br />

improvement. Let’s explore

6<br />

Amsterdam<br />

Raw Materials<br />

Exposed brick, unfinished woods and faded paint<br />

sounds more warehouse dereliction than homestore<br />

charm, yet Amsterdam’s Raw Materials manages to<br />

make such a setting collectively comfortable, relaxing<br />

and a truly beautiful retail experience.<br />

Origin:<br />

Netherlands<br />

Founded:<br />

2008<br />

<strong>Stores</strong>:<br />

1<br />

Sector:<br />

Home<br />

Find it<br />

Raw Materials<br />

Rozengracht 229-233<br />

1016 NA Amsterdam<br />

rawmaterials.nl<br />

Latitude: 52.372240<br />

Longitiude: 4.876765

Amsterdam<br />

Raw Materials

All the items we sell have<br />

their own story, and we love<br />

to tell them.<br />

— Erik and Niels Beemsterboer<br />

Owners, Raw Materials<br />

View Image Gallery<br />

8<br />

It’s important to note that Raw Materials<br />

is not another yellow and blue, flatpack<br />

copy cat. In actual fact, it couldn’t<br />

be further from it. Each and every<br />

product is unique, designed and crafted<br />

from old desks, chairs, doors and<br />

a range of other materials gathered<br />

from around the world. Here, the<br />

story is one of rebirth and passionate<br />

craftsmanship, and it shows.<br />

Raw Materials uses one-of-a-kind<br />

pieces taken from abandoned factories<br />

and old marooned ships, restores<br />

them, redesigns them – giving them<br />

a renewed sense of purpose. There’s<br />

a charm to the process that it is<br />

almost impossible not to admire.<br />

The store itself embodies its unique<br />

offering through natural, rough cut<br />

materials as fixtures and displays.<br />

Old factory lighting and bare brick<br />

walls help tell the product story -<br />

and that’s the rub. Each and every<br />

product is more than a source of<br />

revenue but also a once fine piece of<br />

craftsmanship that has been reborn.<br />

Product presentation instore is<br />

suggestive, but it doesn’t give too much<br />

away, instead choosing to inspire every<br />

shopper’s own creativity. Each area<br />

of the store is presented in attractive,<br />

curated zones with fur rugs and warmer<br />

lighting to accompany the wooden,<br />

hand crafted products suitable for<br />

the comfortable lounge, and brighter<br />

white lights beside bare brick walls<br />

to create an environment suitable for<br />

worn metal chairs and furniture.<br />

Raw Materials is the pinnacle of<br />

product and environment, working<br />

together to tell a story and create an<br />

instore experience that, much like the<br />

products themselves, is one of a kind<br />

Our Rating:<br />

Brand Experience<br />

Instore Innovation<br />

VM/Presentation<br />

Customer Service<br />

Retail Execution<br />

Read our Explorer: series here.

Chicago<br />

Restoration Hardware<br />

A change of scenery is sometimes needed<br />

to rediscover just how much we love home. For US<br />

retailer Restoration Hardware, its stunning new store<br />

has not only reinvigorated the building it calls home,<br />

but is also redefining how we interact with physical<br />

retail spaces.<br />

Origin:<br />

California<br />

Founded:<br />

1979<br />

<strong>Stores</strong>:<br />

28<br />

Sector:<br />

Home<br />

Find it<br />

Restoration Hardware<br />

1300 N Dearborn Pkwy,<br />

Chicago, IL 60610, USA<br />

restorationhardware.com<br />

Latitude: 41.905996<br />

Longitiude: 87.630058<br />


Chicago<br />

Restoration Hardware

Located in the historic and now<br />

beautifully restored Three Arts Club,<br />

Restoration Hardware’s Chicago store<br />

does not anchor a mall, but an entire<br />

neighbourhood. Originally developed<br />

as a place for young women to study<br />

the performing and visual arts, it lay<br />

derelict for over 20 years. The stated<br />

aim of RH is to blur the lines between<br />

retail, hospitality and home. The<br />

result of this particular restoration<br />

goes one step further, creating a<br />

truly captivating crossover store.<br />

You can describe RH Chicago, but really<br />

have to see it. In almost every respect,<br />

it is not a retail space: this is not about<br />

the product. Instead, it’s about a social<br />

and sensory experience. Everything you<br />

can see, you can buy. Everywhere you<br />

can sit, you can eat. The result genuinely<br />

makes you pause – to imagine new<br />

things, to think about the way you want<br />

to live, the way you eat, as well as to<br />

consider the way you want to interact<br />

– socially, and with a retail space.<br />

Make no mistake: you will not stumble<br />

upon this place while out shopping.<br />

There is no passing footfall. This is<br />

true destination retail – delivered in<br />

the finest, and most intriguing way<br />

possible. Its success is proof, if needed,<br />

that shoppers will travel for a great<br />

experience. Above all, RH Chicago<br />

demonstrates that to succeed in modern<br />

retail, sometimes you have to be brave<br />

Our Rating:<br />

Service<br />

Design<br />

Experience<br />

Innovation<br />

Category<br />

C<br />

H<br />

I<br />

Read our Explorer: series here.<br />

11<br />

View Image Gallery

12<br />

Dubai<br />

GO Sport<br />

This isn’t just a store for casual browsers<br />

looking for sportswear; it’s a true retail experience for<br />

the enthusiast, the fanatic and the professional.<br />

Origin:<br />

France<br />

Founded:<br />

1979<br />

<strong>Stores</strong>:<br />

181<br />

Sector:<br />

Sport<br />

Find it<br />

GO Sport<br />

Level 2, Fashion Catwalk Atrium,<br />

The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai<br />

go-sport.com<br />

Latitude: 25.204849<br />

Longitiude: 55.270783

Without a doubt Dubai’s GO Sport<br />

store is the pinnacle of the brand.<br />

The store is huge – a warehouse of<br />

sporting treats. Vibrant, innovative<br />

and packed full of energy, it embodies<br />

casual and extreme sports alike with<br />

an immersive instore atmosphere that<br />

makes shoppers both comfortable and<br />

engaged, with wide selections of product,<br />

interactive experiences and a wealth of<br />

knowledge from store professionals.<br />

From the cycling enthusiast to the runner,<br />

climber, hiker or footballer, product range<br />

is impossible to fault. But it’s not just its<br />

range that makes this store so valuable;<br />

it’s the execution of store display that<br />

helps everything work together effectively.<br />

The store is organised into wellexecuted<br />

zones for various products<br />

where shoppers can choose to ‘Go<br />

Casual’ or ‘Go Run’. Throughout, neon<br />

lights line strong angular displays that<br />

simulate a high energy that is reinforced<br />

by the dark colours and mannequins<br />

fixed into kinetic ‘action shot’ poses.<br />

By far the most impressive areas are<br />

where innovative features have been<br />

integrated seamlessly into the store<br />

experience. An indoor climbing wall<br />

and digital touchscreen displays bring<br />

the action packed sport store to life.<br />

Dubai’s GO Sport offers the very best<br />

of this sportswear brand. Product<br />

is dense with plenty of choice, but<br />

not cluttered. The atmosphere is<br />

powerful, energetic and active, but<br />

not unapproachable. It all makes for a<br />

beautifully executed instore space and<br />

an exciting retail brand experience<br />

Our Rating:<br />

Brand Experience<br />

Instore Innovation<br />

VM/Presentation<br />

Customer Service<br />

Retail Execution<br />

Read our Explorer: series here.<br />

13<br />

View Image Gallery

Hong Kong<br />

Facesss<br />

Part market, part shop and part spa, Facesss<br />

differs from the conventional approach to stores in<br />

this sector, opting for a fast paced, energetic retail<br />

experience that works, beautifully.<br />

Origin:<br />

China<br />

Founded:<br />

2003<br />

<strong>Stores</strong>:<br />

2<br />

Sector:<br />

Beauty<br />

Find it<br />

Latitude: 22.297083<br />

Longitiude: 114.167384<br />

Facesss<br />

Shop 202, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City,<br />

Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong<br />

labconcepthk.com/en/brand/623/FACESSS<br />


15<br />

View Image Gallery<br />

To call Facesss a store is somewhat<br />

misleading. It is in fact an innovative<br />

beauty marketplace featuring an<br />

impressive collection of brands that<br />

operate as micro retail spaces. In<br />

some respects, Facesss feels like a<br />

duty-free store with a mass of brand<br />

choice, but the buzz and excitement<br />

makes for an atmosphere more<br />

reminiscent of a fresh food market.<br />

The store is a single floor space<br />

arranged in a series of grid like islands<br />

and counters, enabling shoppers to<br />

discover the very best in skin, body, hair<br />

and fragrance. Brands are organised<br />

together in positive relationships from<br />

a complimentary perspective. Though<br />

the space is compact, condensed and,<br />

in many respects, highly pressurised,<br />

it is not done in a way that feels off<br />

putting. The sense of frenzy adds to<br />

the experience and creates an exciting,<br />

electric ambience – all rather fitting<br />

for the populous city of Hong Kong.<br />

Despite the welcome chaos, each and<br />

every brand ‘stall’ is merchandised and<br />

maintained to an exceptionally high<br />

standard. This is a retail experience<br />

that truly offers the best of the best.<br />

By cross-fertilising the concept with<br />

inspiration that has been taken from other<br />

retail sectors such as supermarkets,<br />

fresh markets, and spas, Facesss<br />

has created its own distinctive and<br />

highly differentiated concept that<br />

is perfectly suited to the needs of<br />

shoppers in the city. It’s a ‘store’ that<br />

sees thousands of locals and tourists<br />

visit each day, satisfying their desire for<br />

western brands. It’s a place of choice,<br />

freedom, playful chaos and a large<br />

helping of admirable innovation<br />

Our Rating:<br />

Brand Experience<br />

Instore Innovation<br />

VM/Presentation<br />

Customer Service<br />

Retail Execution<br />

Read our Explorer: series here.

16<br />

Leeds<br />

John Lewis<br />

Its choice as the anchor store for Leeds’<br />

new £165m shopping development was perhaps<br />

unsurprising, but the delights instore ensure it has<br />

made a grand entrance.<br />

Origin:<br />

England<br />

Founded:<br />

1864<br />

<strong>Stores</strong>:<br />

48<br />

Sector:<br />

Department<br />

Find it<br />

Latitude: 53.798366<br />

Longitiude: -1.538290<br />

John Lewis<br />

Victoria Leeds, Victoria Gate,<br />

Harewood St, Leeds LS2 7AR<br />


Leeds<br />

John Lewis

View Image Gallery<br />

18<br />

Head of Creative for John Lewis,<br />

Stephen Dempsey was recently<br />

recognised at the <strong>2016</strong> VM & Display<br />

Awards as the most creative person in<br />

retail and the latest John Lewis store in<br />

Victoria Gate has been his playground<br />

to truly exercise his creativity.<br />

The new Victoria Gate retail<br />

development is a feast for lovers of<br />

bold architecture – breaking the mould<br />

of plain minimalistic design, with a<br />

space that is rich in architectural detail.<br />

Having already played a major role<br />

in refining the traditional department<br />

store in recent years, here John Lewis<br />

has capitalised on Victoria Gate’s<br />

overarching design ethos, with creative<br />

details that make a lasting impression.<br />

Though it remains a traditional John<br />

Lewis store that we all know and love,<br />

it manages to be truly inspiring across<br />

its five floors. Bold knights in ‘carpet<br />

armour’ guard the entrance to the<br />

flooring department and hundreds of<br />

wooden kitchen utensils hang from the<br />

ceiling to act as unique and imaginative<br />

departmental signposting. Creative twists<br />

occupy every corner and new elegant<br />

additions add a real zest to the store,<br />

making it nothing less than moreish.<br />

The famous British retailer has always<br />

been a pioneer within retail and<br />

this store is the perfect example of<br />

how the forward-looking brand is<br />

looking to develop the experience<br />

and engagement in stores. Without<br />

a doubt this is John Lewis. But it is<br />

a step beyond – a wonderful display<br />

of art and creativity that makes for<br />

a truly inspirational experience<br />

Our Rating:<br />

Brand Experience<br />

Instore Innovation<br />

VM/Presentation<br />

Customer Service<br />

Retail Execution<br />

Read our Explorer: series here.

Mexico City<br />

Trinitate<br />

A staple brand for independent retailers comes<br />

in the form of an unassuming handmade pottery<br />

shop nestled within the side streets of Mexico City.<br />

Origin:<br />

Mexico<br />

Founded:<br />

1992<br />

<strong>Stores</strong>:<br />

8<br />

Sector:<br />

Home<br />

Find it<br />

Trinitate<br />

General Lazcano 89 esq. Altavista,<br />

Col. San Angel Inn. México, D.F.<br />

trinitateleon.com<br />

Latitude: 19.427912<br />

Longitiude: -99.195379<br />


There is a lot to be learnt from<br />

independent retailer Trinitate. Where<br />

many retailers focus on the largescale<br />

mass produced product, here,<br />

it is all about the craft. The store<br />

itself sits within a residential area. But<br />

instead of feeling disconnected and<br />

abandoned from dedicated shopping<br />

areas in the city, this little store<br />

welcomes locals and tourists alike into<br />

a warm and homely environment.<br />

A haven of all things ceramic, it is the<br />

place to find beautifully crafted pots, tiles<br />

and ceramics for the home, handmade<br />

by Mexican artisans. But it’s not just the<br />

product that makes Trinitate sparkle.<br />

Product presentation, design and visual<br />

merchandising are second to none.<br />

Clearly, there is a genuine understanding<br />

of how to present goods with real<br />

authority and create strong product<br />

statements. It is a hub of detailed VM<br />

principles – all done in a small scale,<br />

but with an extremely high impact.<br />

It is little wonder that this family-run<br />

business is growing across the nation.<br />

It now has eight stores and if they<br />

all manage to maintain this level of<br />

exceptional instore display consistently, it<br />

is a business projected for further growth.<br />

This store has the confidence of a big<br />

national chain that arguably, already does<br />

it all better. What Trinitate teaches us is<br />

that the big blockbuster businesses and<br />

corporations are not always the ones to<br />

watch. In truth, many independent stores<br />

present something much more valuable<br />

Our Rating:<br />

Brand Experience<br />

Instore Innovation<br />

VM/Presentation<br />

Customer Service<br />

Retail Execution<br />

Read our Explorer: series here.<br />

20<br />

Impeccable service, expert knowledge<br />

of our custom products – detail is<br />

important to us.<br />

— Alejandra Becerra<br />

Trinitate<br />

View Image Gallery

21<br />

New York City<br />

Barney’s<br />

Confident and bold, the retailer’s new store<br />

is a purist statement of style, designed to appeal to<br />

a whole new generation of exclusive, ultra wealthy<br />

shoppers.<br />

Origin:<br />

USA<br />

Founded:<br />

1923<br />

<strong>Stores</strong>:<br />

27<br />

Sector:<br />

Department<br />

Find it<br />

Barney’s<br />

101 7th Avenue<br />

New York, NY<br />

barneys.com<br />

Latitude: 40.739949<br />

Longitiude: -73.998283

New York City<br />


Barney’s incredible new store opened in<br />

the spring, taking a space adjacent to its<br />

former location in Chelsea, Manhattan.<br />

This is a store where architecture and<br />

interior design are indisputably highconcept,<br />

verging on art. Designed<br />

entirely in ‘invisible colours and finishes’<br />

comprised of stark white, polished steel,<br />

chrome mirrors, pure LED lighting and<br />

lightly veined Carrara marble, nothing<br />

shouts quality, premium retailing louder.<br />

Here though, Barney’s shoppers are the<br />

stars of the show and its stunning spiral<br />

staircase is the store’s red carpet. It is<br />

the place where the Hollywood ‘A-listers’<br />

will want to be seen. Running through the<br />

centre of the building, it is a distinctive<br />

focal feature that has premium poise,<br />

elegance and grace. This is not just a<br />

staircase: this is a Barney’s staircase.<br />

Clearly, this Barney’s store is all about<br />

design, presentation and beauty, and<br />

a place where premium products are<br />

placed firmly into the spotlight as the<br />

hero. Clean and unfussy, there is an air<br />

of exclusivity and a high quality that,<br />

in many ways, marks a ‘turning point’,<br />

or rather a departure in look and feel<br />

for the brand. It is an evolution of the<br />

brands recently refurbished beauty<br />

hall, but takes it to a whole new, higher<br />

level – the brand visibly choosing to turn<br />

its back on its previously ‘decorative’<br />

interior design and VM past, with a<br />

new brand signature that is overtly<br />

minimalistic, purist, chic and expensive<br />

Our Rating:<br />

Service<br />

Design<br />

Experience<br />

Innovation<br />

Category<br />

Read our Explorer: series here.<br />

23<br />

View Image Gallery

New York City<br />

L’Occitane<br />

A conscious understanding of relaxation,<br />

pleasure and customer participation in all things<br />

cosmetic, L’Occitane cultivates a sense of natural<br />

beauty within an original retail concept.<br />

Origin:<br />

USA<br />

Founded:<br />

1967<br />

<strong>Stores</strong>:<br />

753<br />

Sector:<br />

Beauty<br />

Find it<br />

L’Occitane<br />

170 5th Ave, New York,<br />

NY 10011, USA<br />

usa.loccitane.com<br />

Latitude: 40.740950<br />

Longitiude: -73.990549<br />


25<br />

View Image Gallery<br />

L’Occitane marked its 40th birthday<br />

earlier this year. So it seems fitting for the<br />

brand to celebrate the end of <strong>2016</strong> with<br />

the opening of a newly developed retail<br />

concept on New York’s Fifth Avenue.<br />

The front of the store utilises a creative<br />

design that is purposefully reminiscent<br />

of a Provence Market. It’s enticing and,<br />

if temptation gets the better of you,<br />

equally rewarding once instore too.<br />

Inside, the retail environment feels<br />

soft, informally unstructured but not<br />

unorganised or cluttered. The store<br />

tells a story, one that describes the<br />

natural beauty of the outdoors within<br />

a calm and tranquil retail space<br />

– no mean feat in Manhattan.<br />

Deeper instore the ambience transitions<br />

into an area that is notably more elegant<br />

and boutique. LED lighting directs<br />

attention to various store features and<br />

stunning imagery portrays a ‘narrative’<br />

for selected product ranges.<br />

The highlight for visiting shoppers<br />

is its beauty lounge, situated at the<br />

back of the store. It’s a key feature,<br />

pulling shoppers through the store<br />

for a casual consultation from beauty<br />

professionals. It’s a place for consultants<br />

and shoppers to test various products<br />

whilst being seated in conversation.<br />

The space is fully prepared with<br />

towels, tissues, eye buds and a large<br />

central washing station, all maintained<br />

to an extremely high standard.<br />

Without questions, this store’s success<br />

is down to its ability to blend the<br />

concept of beauty store and spa into<br />

a space that feels safe, relaxing and<br />

trustworthy, providing L’Occitane’s<br />

latest store concept with a truly<br />

defining USP and brand experience<br />

Our Rating:<br />

Service<br />

Design<br />

Experience<br />

Innovation<br />

Category<br />

Read our Explorer: series here.

26<br />

Reykjavik<br />

Geysir<br />

The pinnacle of quality lifestyle clothing,<br />

accessories and footwear in the heart of Iceland,<br />

Geysir reflects the mysticism of the country and its<br />

landscape within an addictively experiential multibrand<br />

space.<br />

Origin:<br />

Iceland<br />

Founded:<br />

2010<br />

<strong>Stores</strong>:<br />

3<br />

Sector:<br />

Fashion<br />

Find it<br />

Geysir<br />

Skólavörðustígur 16,<br />

101 Reykjavík, Iceland<br />

geysir.com<br />

Latitude: 64.144842<br />

Longitiude: -21.931297

Reykjavik<br />


View Image Gallery<br />

28<br />

It is not easy to stand out from the crowd<br />

in the fashion market, especially for a<br />

relatively small brand nestled within<br />

only a few locations in Iceland. Despite<br />

this, Geysir makes a lasting impression,<br />

selling own-brand apparel made from<br />

fresh woven cloth and knitwear alongside<br />

more reputable ‘quality’ brands such<br />

as Levi’s, Ben Sherman and Hunter.<br />

In this respect the store is similar to J<br />

Crew, using other brands to ‘top up’<br />

and give credibility to its own ranges.<br />

But here, products are specially made<br />

with wool from local Icelandic sheep<br />

and it is this that takes it beyond a<br />

brand with ‘uniqueness’ to one that is<br />

also trustworthy, familiar and honest.<br />

Instore design and presentation is<br />

complimentary to the proposition.<br />

Yes, it feels new and modern but it<br />

simultaneously creates a space that<br />

is somewhat cosy, folksy and warm.<br />

Natural materials are a clear inspiration<br />

for the brand and it adds a certain<br />

rustic feel that is evident throughout<br />

the store. Wooden floors, tapestry rugs<br />

and intentionally mismatched furniture<br />

all add for a realistic aged patina and<br />

pre-loved, vintage charm. Even the<br />

soft lighting is deep and moody.<br />

This is a store that understands<br />

what other brands often forget –<br />

the importance of how you make<br />

shoppers feel. Geysir balances product<br />

with the store experience for a truly<br />

inspirational store that throws you into<br />

a curious, mysterious world steeped<br />

in adventurous folklore charm<br />

Our Rating:<br />

Brand Experience<br />

Instore Innovation<br />

VM/Presentation<br />

Customer Service<br />

Retail Execution<br />

Read our Explorer: series here.

Stockholm<br />

Daniel Wellington<br />

Sleek quality brand, inspirational origin story,<br />

and a pop-up store to match. Daniel Wellington<br />

began with the everyday before projecting into the<br />

exceptional, providing Stockholm with an exciting and<br />

‘timeless’ shopping experience.<br />

Origin:<br />

Sweden<br />

Founded:<br />

2011<br />

<strong>Stores</strong>:<br />

5<br />

Sector:<br />

Accessories<br />

Find it<br />

Latitude: 59.334666<br />

Longitiude: 18.069386<br />

Daniel Wellington<br />

MOOD Stockholm, Regeringsgatan 48,<br />

111 44 Stockholm, Sweden<br />

danielwellington.com<br />


Located in the infamous MOOD<br />

Shopping Mall in Stockholm, this popup<br />

watch shop first opened in July<br />

<strong>2016</strong> and will, sadly for local shoppers,<br />

only stay open until early 2017. The<br />

retail concept is a new venture for the<br />

Daniel Wellington brand and although<br />

the store sits alongside other likeminded<br />

brands it retains some aspect<br />

of individualism that allows for it to<br />

expertly balance the line of exclusive<br />

premium and everyday mainstream.<br />

Bold and masculine, it flaunts a colour<br />

palette of stone grey and deep blues.<br />

Although it is a smart environment, it<br />

still feels accessible – a cornerstone of<br />

the brand’s proposition. Instore, product<br />

is quality enough for gifting but not too<br />

expensive for the casual shoppers to shy<br />

away from a special personal purchase.<br />

In truth, Daniel Wellington is sold on<br />

somewhat of a lie, or higher expectation.<br />

It’s a brand that has sparked from<br />

almost nothing and whilst it purports<br />

to a traditionalism and history, it is a<br />

pastiche of the big historical watch<br />

brands. But that is far from an insult to<br />

the brand. In fact, it is an inspiration and<br />

one that many brands young and old<br />

should take note of. Daniel Wellington<br />

treads a fine path, perhaps one that in<br />

itself is unique, between the formally<br />

clear barriers of luxury and mainstream.<br />

It’s posh without being precious, formal<br />

without being standoffish – a truly,<br />

although temporary, inspirational store<br />

Our Rating:<br />

Brand Experience<br />

Instore Innovation<br />

VM/Presentation<br />

Customer Service<br />

Retail Execution<br />

Read our Explorer: series here.<br />

30<br />

Posh without being precious –<br />

a truly, although temporary,<br />

inspirational store.<br />

— Karl McKeever<br />

Visual Thinking<br />

View Image Gallery

31<br />

Tokyo<br />

Hunter<br />

A traditional British brand that today has<br />

become a modern fashion essential, Hunter has<br />

packed up its vibrant retail concept and headed<br />

to Japan, bringing adventure and excitement from<br />

London’s Regent Street to the heart of Tokyo.<br />

Origin:<br />

Scotland<br />

Founded:<br />

1856<br />

<strong>Stores</strong>:<br />

2<br />

Sector:<br />

Outdoor<br />

Find it<br />

Latitude: 35.692913<br />

Longitiude: 139.709008<br />

Hunter<br />

Tokyu Plaza Ginza 5-2-1,<br />

Ginza, Chuo-Ku, Tokyo, Japan, 104-0061<br />


The latest retail offering from Hunter<br />

in Tokyo’s Ginza District is the brand’s<br />

second flagship store, but by no<br />

means is it second best. Following the<br />

brands established design aesthetic, it<br />

successfully captures the essence of its<br />

UK store on Regent Street. But here it<br />

is encased in large glass windows that<br />

invoke exploration from passers-by.<br />

Instore there are no tills. Instead, store<br />

associates are armed with iPads that are<br />

used for product search, transactions<br />

and online orders for home delivery. It is<br />

another welcome example of dispensing<br />

with the usually cluttered and ugly service<br />

areas still found in so many other stores.<br />

Bright fixtures, stools and benches make<br />

a return, all working well with the lighter<br />

white and grey tones. In addition, the<br />

store presents products in detailed zoned<br />

areas that demonstrate product usage.<br />

Where fake grass sets the scene for the<br />

summer boot, a large mountain wall mural<br />

supports green fixtures and walking<br />

boots on the opposite side of the store.<br />

What makes Hunter’s Tokyo store stand<br />

out is its ability to continue through with<br />

the iconic Hunter Boots experience.<br />

The store may be sleek and modern<br />

but it represents the brand perfectly.<br />

But where this store excels is in its<br />

attention to detail of its customer<br />

service. Store associates go above and<br />

beyond the expected. Perhaps a cultural<br />

requirement in Tokyo, but nonetheless it<br />

makes for a fantastic instore experience –<br />

polite, welcoming and respectful, that in<br />

turn shines a light on the Hunter brand<br />

Our Rating:<br />

Brand Experience<br />

Instore Innovation<br />

VM/Presentation<br />

Customer Service<br />

Retail Execution<br />

Read our Explorer: series here.<br />

32<br />

View Image Gallery

Washington D.C<br />

The Frye Company<br />

Care and pride goes a long way in assuring the<br />

best quality and design for every product. A brand<br />

of distinct American heritage, The Frye Company<br />

promises that each and every stitch is sown with the<br />

same love and passion as the next.<br />

Origin:<br />

USA<br />

Founded:<br />

1863<br />

<strong>Stores</strong>:<br />

11<br />

Sector:<br />

Footwear/<br />

Accessories<br />

Find it<br />

The Frye Company<br />

1066 Wisconsin Ave NW,<br />

Washington, DC 20007, USA<br />

thefryecompany.com<br />

Latitude: 38.904556<br />

Longitiude: -77.062937<br />


34<br />

View Image Gallery<br />

A national chain that is proud of its<br />

origins, The Frye Company is a footwear,<br />

handbag and leather goods brand that<br />

is enjoying strong growth. With a handful<br />

of stores located in key cities across<br />

the US, including New York, Dallas<br />

and Boston, The Frye Company has a<br />

distinctive mark and store experience<br />

that is proving very popular among its<br />

increasing flow of regular customers.<br />

It is easy to understand why. Here<br />

it is definitely dollars well spent.<br />

The store offers a blend of mainstream<br />

prices within an upscale retail experience.<br />

The use of natural materials and higher<br />

attention to detail finishing does not go<br />

unnoticed, helping to add to a sense<br />

of luxuriousness and product quality<br />

to the experience. Selling activities<br />

are distinctly low-key, price messages<br />

are discreet, staff emphasise product<br />

features and benefits and shoppers are<br />

encouraged to feel comfortable in the<br />

footwear. As a result, it stands alone<br />

against the popular US DSW (Designer<br />

Shoe Warehouse) that offers end of line<br />

or in season shoes at discount prices.<br />

Differentiating on style, quality and<br />

service as part of a chain store operation,<br />

it all adds up to clear evidence that<br />

The Frye Company certainly intends to<br />

break the mould in footwear retailing in<br />

the USA, offering product on a fashion<br />

store scale with boutique appeal<br />

Our Rating:<br />

Brand Experience<br />

Instore Innovation<br />

VM/Presentation<br />

Customer Service<br />

Retail Execution<br />

Read our Explorer: series here.

Other<br />

Top<br />

Shops<br />

Here’s a directory of other<br />

notable stores to have<br />

caught our eye during our<br />

<strong>2016</strong> retail city travels.<br />

Although they may not have<br />

made our featured shortlist,<br />

they are definitely worth a<br />

visit—if you are ever in town.<br />

Amsterdam<br />

Denham<br />

Founded in the Dutch capital,<br />

Denham’s aim of creating a<br />

timeless jeans brand has seen it<br />

develop a growing collection of<br />

boutique stores, each with their<br />

own distinctive character and<br />

personality. Whichever you visit,<br />

these are not just stores, but<br />

interconnected limbs that make<br />

up the exceptional Denham brand.<br />

Cologne<br />

Funktion Schnitt<br />

An interesting start-up t-shirt and<br />

tops retailer that demonstrates a<br />

highly competent instore execution.<br />

All its products are made from<br />

organic Sea Island cotton, Tencel,<br />

Cool Wool and other natural<br />

fibres. Simplistic and functional<br />

its products may be, but instore<br />

it creates a very credible story.<br />

Chicago<br />

Eataly<br />

Hong Kong<br />

City Super<br />

Hobbemastraat 8, 1071 ZA<br />

Amsterdam, Netherlands<br />

denhamthejeanmaker.com<br />

This truly is a benchmark store<br />

for exceptional passive customer<br />

service. Inside, everything from<br />

the store associates to the<br />

beautifully designed displays<br />

and informative navigational POS<br />

signage has the shopper in mind,<br />

with a personality that’s perfectly<br />

aligned to the brand essence.<br />

Ehrenstraße 84, 50672 Köln,<br />

Germany<br />

funktionschnitt.de<br />

One of Hong Kong’s most popular<br />

fresh produce stores is actually<br />

a host of specialist grocers that<br />

offer ‘on the go’ product for<br />

local residents, commuters and<br />

tourists alike. The store’s ability<br />

to offer ‘a sense of the familiar’<br />

alongside a local and exciting thrill<br />

is what sets City Super apart.<br />

London<br />

Dyson<br />

The brand’s first store in the UK<br />

is a high-end gallery of Dyson<br />

products nestled on London’s<br />

most esteemed shopping<br />

street. Here, products are not<br />

just items on sale, they are<br />

exhibits available for shoppers<br />

to test, learn and experience the<br />

Dyson brand at its very best.<br />

The Shops at North Bridge, 43 E Ohio<br />

St, Chicago, IL 60611, USA<br />

eataly.com<br />

Mexico City<br />

Soriana<br />

The latest Soriana supermarket in<br />

Mexico City takes brand delivery<br />

to a whole new level. Exceptional<br />

display techniques, high standards<br />

and innovative features set it<br />

apart for the ‘everyday’. It’s a<br />

world-class store, and one that<br />

raises the bar far beyond Mexico,<br />

across all of South America.<br />

Times Square Hong Kong, 1 Matheson<br />

St, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong<br />

citysuper.com.hk<br />

447 Oxford St, Mayfair, London<br />

W1C 2PR, England<br />

dyson.co.uk<br />

Av. Eugenia 901, Benito Juárez,<br />

Del Valle, 03100 Ciudad de México,<br />

CDMX, Mexico<br />


New York<br />

Room & Board<br />

Discover exquisite, premium<br />

furniture within an environment<br />

that feels calm and relaxed<br />

yet simultaneously, creative.<br />

The store’s retail experience<br />

that falls into a sweet spot<br />

between homewares retailer<br />

and interior design inspiration<br />

showroom. It’s not ‘everyday’.<br />

It’s something more.<br />

Paris<br />

Herschel<br />

Famous for its premium luggage,<br />

travel bags and accessories,<br />

the brand’s original store initially<br />

appears somewhat simplistic<br />

and functional in its execution.<br />

However, high quality materials<br />

and interesting detailing create<br />

a store that is exceptionally<br />

unified in both design and style.<br />

Forum des Halles niveau -1, 106 Porte<br />

Rambuteau, 75001 Paris, France<br />

herschelsupply.com<br />

Reykjavik<br />

66° North<br />

An Icelandic brand that takes<br />

pride in its offer of locally<br />

designed and produced products.<br />

Though an independent brand,<br />

66° North presents a store<br />

that looks stylish and feels<br />

technologically sharp. Everything<br />

here is thoughtfully considered<br />

for a store that is edgy, quality<br />

and wonderfully well executed.<br />

San Francisco<br />

Heath Ceramics<br />

Owned by a large US ceramic<br />

tiles manufacturer, the store<br />

delivers a traditionally inspired<br />

craft environment fit for the 21st<br />

century. Retail space is simple<br />

but well managed, with high<br />

standards and detailed displays<br />

creating the appearance of an<br />

unpretentious, but nonetheless<br />

engaging, Artisan workshop.<br />

2900 18th St, San Francisco, CA<br />

94110, USA<br />

heathceramics.com<br />

103, Kringlan 8, 103 Reykjavík<br />

Iceland<br />

66north.com<br />

236 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011,<br />

USA<br />

roomandboard.com<br />

Stockholm<br />

Bookbinders Design<br />

A treat for those into all things<br />

paper, Bookbinders Design is<br />

stationery store that carries out<br />

the traditional craft within an<br />

environment that is anything<br />

but. Vibrant, purist and minimal,<br />

the store is a staple of both<br />

Scandinavian design and modern,<br />

high quality presentation.<br />

Washington D.C<br />

Shinola<br />

Providing a welcome alternative<br />

to the endless sea of accessories<br />

that can so often bewilder in<br />

other retailers, here product is<br />

carefully selected, displays are<br />

clean and organised, and focal<br />

points are suitably minimalistic.<br />

As an accessory retailer, it is<br />

what it is. But what it is; is great.<br />

Drottninggatan 82, 111 36 Stockholm,<br />

Sweden<br />

bookbindersdesign.com<br />

1631 14th St NW, Washington, DC<br />

20009, USA<br />


Explorer:<br />

Finding retail inspiration is easy with our Explorer:<br />

series as your guide. From Barcelona to Chicago,<br />

Reykjavik and San Francisco, in <strong>2016</strong> we’ve visited cities<br />

around the world to review standout brand experiences in<br />

all their enticing, energetic glory.<br />

C<br />

H<br />

I<br />

Become a Visual Thinking subscriber at visualthinking.co.uk<br />

to see every Explorer: of 2017. Let’s explore.<br />


<strong>Good</strong> <strong>Stores</strong> <strong>Guide</strong><br />

The Visual Thinking <strong>Good</strong> <strong>Stores</strong> <strong>Guide</strong> presents an inspiring,<br />

informative and tightly edited selection of star retail finds<br />

from some of the world’s most fascinating cities. Compiled<br />

by our team of experts during their global retail travels to<br />

help leading retailers improve retail performance, here is an<br />

insider’s checklist of must-see stores.<br />

Our now annual <strong>Good</strong> <strong>Stores</strong> <strong>Guide</strong> acts as a passport to<br />

international retail best practice with just a few clicks and<br />

swipes. Enjoy!<br />

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