Homewares retailer, Habitat has unveiled the first of its two new stand-alone flagship stores today at shopping centre, Westfield London.
The opening represents an investment of £1.5million from owner Sainsbury’s, with Habitat celebrating the milestone of its first stand-alone stores in nearly 10 years.
The retail chain has put openings on hold since its acquisition by private equity firm Hilco in 2009. The iconic interiors brand has changed hands twice since then; first being bought out of administration by Homebase parent Home Retail Group for £24.5million in 2011 which saw the chain close all but its three London stores in Tottenham Court Road, Kings Road and Finchley Road, and secondly in April 2016, when Sainsbury’s staged a £1.4billion takeover of Habitat and Argos. The acquisition of Homebase by Bunnings in the same year saw the closure of 70 Habitat concessions within Hmebase stores, resulted in losses of £18million for the homewares business.
Sainsbury’s investment in the brand has seen the opening of a mini Habitat showroom alongside an Argos in Leeds and 11 mini Habitat stores within Sainsbury’s supermarkets. The closure of Habitat’s King’s Road store means the brand new Westfield store will stand as one of the group’s three flagship London outlets.
Forming part of the Westfield shopping mall’s new ‘Home’ hub - which brings together multiple homeware and furniture retailers – the new 4,700sq ft store, now Habitat’s third largest store in the UK, has been designed by Habitat’s own in-house Design Studio and will carry more than 1,400 products from the Habitat collection across, furniture, lighting, textiles and home accessories.
Habitat managing director Clare Askem: “Working with Westfield London to create a major new homeware destination for London has been a hugely exciting project to be part of and we think a fitting location in which to launch our first stand-alone Habitat store for 10 years.
“As we evolve the Habitat brand we’re conscious of catering for customers who increasingly want the choice of shopping in stores or online in a way that suits them. Alongside good digital growth, we’ve seen a great reaction to our store format trials, which allow customers to interact with our products in different retail environments. Westfield London will be our first large format store to offer customers a new immersive Habitat shopping experience within a major shopping mall and is aimed at those that who want the convenience of different fashion, home and entertainment retailers in one easy to shop location.”
15 Habitat store colleagues will work within the store, on-hand to explain product features, as well as highlighhting additional product options from Habitat’s 4,500-strong product range online, which is available for home delivery or Click & Collect from over 2,000 locations in the UK.
Habitat plans to open its second new flagship store in Brighton city centre this November as part of the Hanningtons Estate redevelopment in the popular Brighton Lanes shopping area. Ranged over two floors, the 6,500sq ft store will showcase around 3,000 Habitat products, with inspirational room settings and an innovative workshop and events space.
Take a closer look at the new flagship London store in the September 28 issue of DIY Week. Don't receive the magazine? Subscribe here